“West Must Continue to Pay Attention to Azerbaijan!”May 31st, 2012 Azerbaijan | News | Theme: Democracy for Azerbaijan (sticky)
“Holding Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan fostered hopes for positive developments in the country”, said National Independence Party of Azerbaijan (NIPA), opposition party and cooperation partner of the Hjalmarson Foundation. “While all of Europe focused on Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijani authorities took no step towards creating a good image of themselves. Political prisoners, including the political prisoners imprisoned in April, 2011, were not released. As before freedom of assembly and freedom of speech were associated with serious problems: imprisonment as well as beating of journalists and violations of property rights that continued even more aggressively.”
The NIPA leadership is convinced that it was the presence of foreign journalists that made it possible for the opposition to organize a number of protests. Though, “these actions were brutally suppressed by the police and authorities’ representatives in civilian clothes, especially women were subjected to aggressive treatment” said NIPA. “A number of people were imprisoned. Despite the fact that they were released afterwards, they were subjected to ill-treatment and insult in detention facilities.”
NIPA commented on the fact that Loreen from Swede, as the only participant from the Eurovision Song Contest, met with NGOs. “She proclaimed a declaration. This made the authorities most discontent. The Swedish ambassador was charged on AZ TV, the official TV channel of Azerbaijan. He was incorrectly blamed for encouraging a political declaration at the Eurovision Song Contest.”
“The actions launched by the opposition during Eurovision caused the most severe impact that the government has experienced during the last 10 years,” saID nipa. “Today in the post-Eurovision period the government’s repression towards the opposition is a reality and out in the open. Though, in this process the authorities’ ways of political governing were revealed. This process was observed by the visiting journalists. Many of them witnessed that there are no sign of human rights, no rule of law or impartiality in a country that spends millions on building a glittering and marvelous city, where a great number of people live in poverty and doesn’t have bread on their tables.”
Summarizing the event NIPA concluded on a somewhat hopefull note: “The government authorities failed in using the Eurovision Song Contest for its political propaganda. Now people in Azerbaijan hope that the West will continue to pay attention to their country also after the Eurovision is over and won’t exchange human rights and freedom of speech for oil and gas.”
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