HRW: EU leaders should use Riga summit to pressure Azerbaijan over human rights

Source: Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch urged European leaders to use the European Partnership summit, which wrapped up today in Riga, to insist that Azerbaijan release political prisoners.

“This high-level meeting presents a key opportunity for the EU to make good on its pledges to human rights activists, and unanimously insist that Azerbaijan stop the crackdown and free jailed critics,” said HRW’s EU director

Lotte Leicht

. “The EU should make clear that deeper engagement with Azerbaijan is out of the question until the government rectifies its abysmal rights record.”

The EU should halt its negotiations with Azerbaijan toward a “Strategic Partnership Agreement” until the government releases wrongfully detained activists and dramatically improves conditions for human rights defenders and independent activists and groups, HRW said in a


for EU foreign ministers and the EU leadership on April 30.

EU leaders should not attend the opening ceremonies of the European Games unless Azerbaijan ends its crackdown and frees people held on politically motivated grounds, HRW insisted.

The summit brought together leaders of 28 European states with leaders from six neighboring countries, including Azerbaijan represented by Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.

The two-day summit kicked off on May 21, 2015. As previously


, Ilham Aliyev did not attend the event due to “an extremely busy schedule preparing for the inaugural European Games,” according to his Aide for Public and Political Affairs Ali Hasanov.

Ana səhifəNewsHRW: EU leaders should use Riga summit to pressure Azerbaijan over human rights