The Joint working Group for the Implementation of International Human Rights Standards recent meeting held on November 2, 2011 discussed the following issues:
a) The results of the monitoring carried out in Baku Investigation Prison within the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Azerbaijan, on November 1, 2011;
b) The In October of this year on several webpages signing the agreement between “For Human Rights” Public Union and The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on implementing the “Identifying political prisoners in Azerbaijan according to the measures of the Council of Europe and the United Nations and creating data bases of these prisoners” project.
The members of the The Joint working Group for the Implementation of International Human Rights Standards:
– Knowing that Azerbaijan is the member of the COE for more than ten years;
– Eastern Partnership Summit in Warsaw in September 29-30, 2011 Azerbaijan was given a status of Eastern European partner. Considering that this fact is the appreciation and support of the council to the reforms in different areas (democracy, legal statehood, providing human rights and fundamental freedoms, market economy, etc.);
– Indicating that the states are the equal subjects of international relations, the respect for the sovereignty of the states and condemnation the intervention to the internal issues of the states are the principals of modern international law;
– Approving that the rule of law, the member states have the equal rights and the discrimination against them is unacceptable according to the principles of COE ;
– Understanding that the interference of any member of COE to the internal issues of another member is not allowed, and these issues can only be discussed at the Council of Europe level.;
– Highlighting that there is no any international document refering to the notion of “political prisoner” accepted by regional or international organizations. There is no article of international law, defining this notion.;
– Taking into account that in their decisions and practices the European Court of Human Rights and international courts the notion of “political prisoner” was not used.
The official of The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs should know the followings while signing the “Identifying political prisoners in Azerbaijan according to the measures of the Council of Europe and the United Nations and creating data bases of these prisoners” project:
1. There is no any resolution, convention or document accepted by the UN refers to the notion of “political prisoner” and its indicators.
2. There is no any legal document referring to political prisoners accepted by PACE. The resolution number 1272(2002) is only referring to a specific country and there is not a general definition that could be used as an applicable role in every member state.
3. At the meeting of the Legal Affairs Issues and Human Rights Committee of PACE on October 5, 2011 the name of the report “Investigating the issues on political prisoner in Azerbaijan” was changed into “Revisiting the issues of political prisoners”. This fact shows The COE accepts that there are not measures of the notion of “political prisoner” that can be applied to all the member states.
4. We are perplexed that the administration of the Kingdom of Norway, one of the developed countries in Europe and member of the Council of Europe, who plays an important role in the development of democracy and protecting Human Rights, signs and support financially a private political project in another member state of the Council of Europe, the Republic of Azerbaijan. Moreover, we are sure that the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is well informed about the lack of criteria regarding the notion of a “political prisoner”.
The Joint working Group for the Implementation of
International Human Rights Standards
Baku, November2, 2011