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Only Decisive Steps Towards Azerbaijan can Change the Situation There

Human rights violations in Azerbaijan… A topic very much discussed in media and voiced from different levels by the international community. Despite these much reactions and condemnations, Azerbaijan continues its long before adopted policy. This, of course, have its reasons and among these reasons is the oil, hence petrodollars, and consequently the interests of the international community in Azerbaijan, which retrains it from taking tougher and more obliging steps towards Azerbaijan. However, as it is said, everything has a boomerang effect.

Recently Azerbaijan declared that it has decided to close the office of the OSCE Project-Coordinator in Baku, claiming that Azerbaijan sees no need for more activities of the OSCE Project Coordinator in Baku, adding that it gives the OSCE a month to complete the technical issues that will arise. This is, of course, not a common or a natural situation and a country like Azerbaijan, which has not shown itself as a country having a high level of democracy, should not have done such a thing, especially on the eve of the European Games.

The interesting thing, however, is that a reaction criticizing such a step, came quite late and this reaction was from the US side. Daniel Baer, U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE Permanent Council, during a special OSCE Permanent Council session on Azerbaijan expressed his disappointment over the decision of Azerbaijan. As reports, he particularly said: "Observers see the Azerbaijan government’s move in the context of a broader crackdown and as part of Azerbaijan’s significant backsliding in meeting international commitments and obligations, including with respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms. This is not good for the OSCE; this is not good for comprehensive security in the region; this is not good for the people or the government of Azerbaijan. We hope that the government of Azerbaijan will work with the other 56 participating States to find a way forward that is consistent with advancing implementation of OSCE commitments and our shared security."  

It is quite difficult to say whether this call from the US side will have any impact on Azerbaijan or not, but one thing is clear. If the office is closed, the Azerbaijani authorities will have more "freedom" to do what they want – particularly in terms of human rights and the freedom of expression and a group of deputies of the European Parliament wearing T-shirts with pictures of political prisoners of Azerbaijan and with their calls to release the arrested human rights activists and journalists, will not be able to change anything. The only thing that can change the situation in Azerbaijan is the decisive steps taken by the international community…

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