MEP: No European politicians to European Games in Baku until political prisoners are released


Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (D66/ALDE) calls on European leaders not to attend official ceremonies during the European Games in Azerbaijan, until political prisoners are released,

reported on June 10, 2015. Today the European Parliament will debate the European Games, which will be held from the 12


 to the 28


 of June.

Human Rights

Azerbaijan currently detains twice as many political prisoners as Russia and Belarus combined. Journalists, human rights defenders and activists are being imprisoned and do not get a fair trial. Schaake: “The authorities in Azerbaijan are interested in hosting major international events, in order to increase the international stature of Azerbaijan. Yet the European Games should not mask the fact that fundamental rights are systematically being violated. Activists such as Leyla Yunus, who was nominated for the Sakharov Prize of the European Parliament last year, are in prison without medical care or access to a lawyer. Only after political prisoners are released it is appropriate for European politicians to attend the official gatherings in Baku.”

European Games

In the days before the European Games are opened, Amnesty International has been denied entry to Azerbaijan. Schaake: “This is unacceptable. The label “European” should have meaning, and the Games should only be organised in countries where human rights and fundamental freedoms are respected. Especially now, when the spotlight is on Azerbaijan, European leaders should stand for human rights in the country.”

On the 28


 of May, Schaake and MEPs from other political groups in the European Parliament submitted a

joint statement

 to High Representative Mogherini, Commissioner Hahn and the 28 European Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

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