Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec.24
Chairman of the Helsinki Commission of the US Congress Christopher Smith submitted the bill on "Azerbaijan Democracy Act of 2015" to the Congress Dec.17.
In response to the anti-Azerbaijani bill of Smith, Rovshan Rzayev, deputy chairman of the Legal Policy and State-Building Committee of Azerbaijani parliament, member of the Board of Directors of "Azerbaijani Community of the Nagorno-Karabakh Region of the Republic of Azerbaijan" Public Union prepared a draft resolution "On the state of human rights in the USA".
The draft resolution "On the state of human rights in the USA" says:
Having restored its state independence in 1991, the Republic of Azerbaijan became a member of the UN, OSCE, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Council of Europe and other international organizations, and has tried to build equal relations with all countries. Azerbaijan today occupies a worthy place in the world community, and is one of the countries that seriously influence the regional processes. But, unfortunately, over the years of independence the Republic of Azerbaijan has faced double standards shown by a number of countries, particularly various organizations of the United States of America. These organizations are trying to gain influence over Azerbaijan and interfere, applying different methods, with its internal and foreign policy, just as they are doing with other countries. One of these methods is to exert continuous pressure on the country through taking a biased and one-sided approach to such issues as human rights and democracy.
The USA releases annual country reports on human rights practices in the world. But the country itself is avoiding - in every possible way - joining core international human rights treaties. The USA has ratified only four out of 14 core human rights treaties of the United Nations so far. The USA is one of the two countries (other being Somalia) that are not a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In the past years there have been growing racial and religious discrimination, xenophobic and Islamophobia tendencies in the USA, where total control is exerted over the general population, and the cases involving the violation of personal life, freedom of expression and press have been increasing. Legal corruption and lobbyism have become key attributes of the USA`s political system. Negative processes taking place in the USA, its hegemonic ambitions encourage the Republic of Azerbaijan to review its cooperation and long-term bilateral relations with this country.
Racial and religious discrimination
Indigenous people of America have undergone genocide through the centuries; with more than three million American Indians killed as a result. Until the mid-19th century, more than 12 million slaves had been brought from Africa to be used in the most severe jobs. Racial and religious intolerance continues in the US. Some 50 per cent of the people shot by police, 70 per cent of those arrested and killed in New York are black. One third of the black people between the ages of 20-29 are either in prison or other detention facilities. The shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African-American male, by police officers in August 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, caused a large-scale confrontation between the people and the government forces. What happened after the incident testified to the racial discrimination, police arbitrariness, violation of freedom of assembly of citizens. Inadequate force was used against protesters, National Guard entered the city, batons, water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets, and other special means were used to disperse the protests.
Apart from the black, the Asian people, especially Muslims are subjected to discrimination in their everyday life in the United States. After the events of September 11, 2001, the Muslim population of the USA has been pursued and bugged, their humiliation in the mass media and by politicians has been widely spread. It is not coincidence that Donald Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, has called for barring all Muslims from entering the United States.
The exertion of total control over the general public,
restriction of freedom of speech and press
As a result of the so-called "security and fight against terrorism" efforts taken by the US government after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the total control system has been set up in the country. Illegal interference of the intelligence agencies into the private lives of citizens, bugging and persecution have been widely spread. According to different sources, the Federal Bureau of Investigation secretly bugs phone calls of the citizens. Although initially this was applied against those who come from Muslim countries, now any American can be bugged. In 2009, an organization responsible for the internet security was established. Security services can read emails of the citizens whenever they want. According to former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee Edward Snowden, CIA had listened, followed in the social media and entered the contacts of the users of the nine largest telecommunication companies (Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo etc.) via a program called PRISM. Police attacks and arrests of journalists have become an everyday occurrence in the United States. During the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minnesota, 42 journalists, as well as Amy Goodman whose programs had been aired in more than 1200 TV and radio channels and two of her producers were arrested. Some 52 journalists were beaten or threatened to be shot by police in the conflicts in Ferguson, 21 of them were arrested.
Some 80 percent of the Americans believe that the country`s authorities are completely corrupt.
In the first months of 2015 alone, 2320 criminal cases on charges of bribery were filed against officials of various levels. Of them 678 related to large amounts of bribe.
The media regularly spread reports about the people holding highest positions in supreme executive authorities as well as a number of congressmen who cooperate with and lobby various companies.
In the beginning of the year one of the senators was arrested and indicted on a total of 14 charges, including misusing political authority to help a friend in exchange for gifts.
Comptroller of the city of Dixon in the State of Illinois stole $30 million over 7 years, which means nine percent of the city budget.
Despite an abundance of this kind of crimes, most of them are not completely investigated, and even if they are, the results of the investigation are kept secret in order not to spoil the global image of the USA.
There is no doubt that the US electoral system is quite imperfect. But widespread fraud and cheating in the election practice is worsening the situation even further, crossing out the democratic traditions in the country.
During the presidential elections in 2000 the investigation on the vote counting fraud was not completed, a recount of votes process in Florida remained unfinished.
There are numerous violations during the voting, illegal migrants from Latin America are involved in "carousel operation".
Any paper without a photo (utility fee receipt, letter etc.) with just only address, name and surname on it is enough to vote, which opens the door to fraud. Only seven states require an ID with a photo. Ten percent of the population do not have IDs with photos.
The registration of voters is also in an extremely poor condition. If a citizen is not registered himself, he is not included in the voters` list. And this means that almost one fourth of the voters cannot cast ballots.
Early voting practice (even more than one month) is widely used. As a rule, about one third of voters who took part in the presidential elections vote in this way.
Postal voting is applied. A ballot paper and an additional envelope are distributed to a voter's home by post. He fills out the ballot, puts it in an envelope and sends it back. Some 20 percent of the Americans vote in this way in every election.
The US electoral system does not include international norms and principles necessary for the democratic elections. European parliamentarians who monitored the last presidential elections said they were not given the opportunity to choose freely which polling station to visit and that this was decided by the authorities. During the voting the observers are not allowed to take photographs, use mobile phones, and even speak to people. In some states the OSCE observers were not admitted to the polling stations and were even threatened to be arrested in case they approach the polling station. For example, during the last presidential election the Attorney General of the State of Texas said that those observers who approach the polling station closer than 30 meters can be arrested.
Pre-election campaign is conducted even on the Election Day, administrative resources are used, exit-polls are openly discussed, young children are involved in the campaign, parties encourage voters to vote by phone. Voting in the military units is completely marred with fraud.
There are no restrictions for the electoral funds. The more funds a candidate has, the more chances he has to win the election. Therefore, the majority of politicians cooperate with the large corporations.
Violation of international norms and principles
Since the end of the 20th century, the US has increased its interference with the internal affairs of independent states on the pretext of the fight against terrorism and introduction of democratic standards. It is the USA's interference that put countries such as Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen on the brink of civil wars and face to face with chaos, economic collapse and violation of their territorial integrity. The activities of government bodies in these countries are paralyzed.
In the US-led anti-terror operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and other Muslim countries, the US government provided grounds for illegal imprisonments of the citizens without any evidence and inhuman behavior against them. The whole world was shocked by violence committed by US militaries and employees of intelligence services against captives and prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Guantanamo in Cuba. Independent human rights defenders later found out that all the tortures and killings were sanctioned by the US Military Headquarters. Despite their promises during pre-election campaigns, the incumbent US Administration has not yet closed Guantanamo prison, and the inmates have not yet been released.
The US claims not to support separatist regimes, but its position on the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict proves the contrary. Despite the fact that the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan were occupied by the Armenian armed forces, the US Congress adopted Section 907 amendment to the Freedom Support Act, banning any kind of direct US aid to the Azerbaijani government in 1992. While visa bans and other sanctions are imposed against the heads of separatist bodies in other places, representatives of the puppet "Nagorno-Karabakh Republic" are constantly visiting the US and attend various events. Since 1999, this body, which has not been recognized by the US Congress, has received significant direct financial aid on a yearly basis. All this proves that as an OSCE Minsk Group co-chair, the US`s position on the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not fair.
In view of the aforementioned, it is resolved that:
1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs be recommended to refuse to issue the visa to visit the Republic of Azerbaijan to the persons belonging to the following categories:
· Persons represented in the US government, and their family members;
· Congressmen, senators who are consistently involved in the work to discredit Azerbaijan at the US Congress, and their family members;
· Officials, politicians who are cooperating with Armenian diaspora organizations and lobby groups;
· heads of the media outlets, representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations, and experts that are conducting a slander and smear campaign against Azerbaijan;
· persons who gained huge funds as a result of collaboration with the US authorities;
· persons elected to elective bodies with the support of the Armenian diaspora and lobby groups in the USA;
· those who are involved in electoral fraud and oppose the improvement of the election law;
· those who oppose the USA`s joining international human rights treaties.
2. The Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan be recommended to consider breaking off all relations between Azerbaijani government bodies and US companies.
3. Representatives of the private sector be recommended to terminate contracts with US companies and refuse to establish new trade and economic relations.
4. Relevant central executive authorities be recommended to:
· forbid US-based Non-Governmental Organizations from implementing programs and projects in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and close down their bank accounts;
· take measures to terminate the activities of branches and offices of the US government- and Congress-funded Non-Governmental Organizations in the Republic of Azerbaijan;
· prepare and submit to appropriate bodies the proposals on termination of cooperation with the USA in the fields of trade, energy, military and security;
· terminate the participation of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations in Afghanistan;
· forbid ten transportation of the military and other goods of the USA over Azerbaijan and the use of the local infrastructure to this end;
· launch procedures to recall the USA from the co-chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Group.
Note: The following issues should be addressed for the sanctions intended by this draft resolution to be lifted:
1. Within the country:
• brutal violation of human rights, racial and religious discrimination, manifestations of xenophobia and Islamophobia and inhuman treatment of imprisoners should be ended;
• inadequate use of force against protesters should be ended;
• restriction of freedom of speech and press, violation of private lives of citizens should be prevented;
• corruption should be fought continuously; the practice of lobbyism should be ended;
• imperfect widespread practice during the electoral process should be quitted, electoral fraud should be ended;
2. attempts to rudely interference with the internal affairs of foreign countries should be ended;
3. slander and smear campaigns against the Republic of Azerbaijan should be quitted, a repetition of such cases should be prevented;
4. unambiguous position should be demonstrated on the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in compliance with the international law, sanctions should be imposed on the aggressor country, relations with the separatist regime in Nagorno-Karabakh should be broken off.