Developments in the Council of Europe within the last decade raise serious concerns about the nature, mission and vision of the organization. President Putin’s invasion of Crimea, Ukraine and President Aliyev’s “caviar diplomacy” in Europe are only some of the examples of ineffectiveness of the policy of “engagement” of authoritarian regimes in Europe. Should Europe continue putting economic interests before human rights and democracy agenda when it comes to cases like Russia and Azerbaijan?
Meydan TV’s interviewed Christoph Strässer, the German Federal Commissioner for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid. Mr. Strässer shared with us memories of his previous position as a rapporteur on political prisoners in Azerbaijan in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. He was not allowed to enter Azerbaijan in that capacity for years, despite his legitimate mandate, because the government of Azerbaijan claimed that there were no political prisoners in the country. At the same time, Mr. Strässer recalled, other European politicians from the Council of Europe were invited to Azerbaijan as guests of the government.