Baku does not Accept US Criticism on Situation of Human Rights in Azerbaijan

Baku does not Accept US Criticism on Situation of Human Rights in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, Baku, 29 May / corr. Trend I. Alizade/ The Azerbaijani government does not accept the criticism of the State Department of the United States on deterioration of the situation of the human rights in Azerbaijan.

"I can not accept the criticism on the human rights in Azerbaijan as this criticism is based on the isolates facts which occur in any country worldwide," Elnur Aslanov, the head of the Political Analysis and Dataware Department of the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan said to Trend .

The US State Department published a report on human rights in Azerbaijan on 28 May. The report said that the situation of the human rights deteriorated in Azerbaijan in 2007. The report also spoke of the presidential elections to be held in Azerbaijan in October.

"We have repeatedly announced that the presidential elections will be transparent, open and democratic, said Aslanov.

According to Aslanov, the indicators of Azerbaijan are improved every year. "It concerns both economic and political spheres. Recently, we have taken important steps on the development of the civil society in Azerbaijan and we have been promoting the role of the 'third sector' in the social life of the government. Conditions have been provided for the development of the media sources, the number of which makes up 600 at present. The civil rights and freedoms are priorities of the government," Aslanov said.

The report of the State Department said that there is still torture in police departments and military units with six people dying as a result of it in 2007. "The security forces who stand behind it, are not punished," the document said. "The officials are detained on political motives. There is corruption in the judicial system and restrictions on the freedom of assembly. The situation of the mass media has further deteriorated. The violation against women and religious minorities is still going on. In spite o some progress, the prisons are still source of danger for the human life," the document said.

According to Aslanov, the regulations on holding demonstration are the same with that of the other countries where it is banned to hold demonstrations in places with much traffic and people. "It is quite natural. However, the parliament will discuss new Bill on Freedom of Assembly, therefore it is pointless to speak of the restrictions," he said.

He said that he is surprised with the statement of the report on the violation against women and religious minorities. "It is not true at all. There is no violation against women in Azerbaijan," Aslanov said.

He added that he also does not accept the criticism on the religious minorities. "There are some 500 registered religious groups in Azerbaijan which openly exercise their rights and devotions. Azerbaijan is a tolerant country. The tolerance of Azerbaijan is annually indicated in the reports of the international organizations, the fact which can not concern neighboring countries," he said.

"I also do not accept the statement that 'the security forces are not punished," the representative of the official Baku said. According to Aslanov, some 443 officers of the Interior Ministry of Azerbaijan who have violated human rights have been punished during three years. Some 16 of them were made answerable, 98 were dismissed from the Interior Ministry, five were demoted and 39 were dismissed from their posts. Therefore, these statements do not reflect reality," Aslanov added.

"It is disappointing that the report does not include any statement on the rights of refugees and IDPs, which was grossly violated as a result of the occupational policy of Armenia. I think that the report should have reminded of 1mln refugees who are deprived of the right to return to their homelands. If we speak of the human rights, it is important to speak of the facts. Millions of refugees, whose rights have been violated by the neighbor country, are a concrete fact of violation of human rights by the other country," he said.

As to the penitentiaries of Azerbaijan, Aslanov said that they are under public monitoring of not only national, but also international organizations.  "There is no such monitoring in the prisons of other countries where people accused with committing crimes are kept there for years," Aslanov said.

The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]

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