On June 23, MPs denounced the harsh crackdown on human rights defenders, stating that "enough was enough", and that the ongoing repression in Azerbaijan was incompatible with the founding principles and standards of the Council of Europe.
In a coordinated effort ahead of last week’s session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), several INGOs including FIDH proposed a series of concerted amendments to several MPs on a draft PACE resolution regarding the human rights situation in Azerbaijan.
The isolation of the Azeri delegation was reflected in the voting results of the amendments: for the first time in PACE history, the substantially amended resolution condemns the repression of civil society in Azerbaijan, urges the authorities to put an end to the systematic harassment of human rights defenders such as Leyla Yunus and Arif Yunusov, Rasul Jafarov, Intigam Aliyev, Khadija Ismailova, Anar Mammadli and Rauf Mirqadirov, calls for the release of all political prisoners, urges the Azeri authorities to revise the legislation on NGOs as recommended by the Venice Commission, and calls for the creation of an enabling environment to the legitimate activities of NGOs, including critical ones.
The landmark resolution represents a turning point at the PACE level. The blatant violations of the statute of the Council of Europe and of the European Convention of Human Rights from the part of the Azeri authorities can no longer be ignored. It is now up to the authorities of Azerbaijan to comply with the recommendations of the resolution.