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Azerbaijan Continues Its Policy of Isolation

On the background of Azerbaijan-West deteriorating relations the announcement of the Council of Europe that it withdraws its participation in the joint working group on human rights issues in Azerbaijan, once more showed that the reason for the criticism towards Azerbaijan is not, as Azerbaijan likes to say Europe's "unjust" attitude, but the policy conducted by the Azerbaijani authorities. 

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland this decision explained by the fact that since 2014 in the work of a Council of Europe representative, whose aim was to resume the dialogue between the civil society and Azerbaijani authorities, no progress has been recorded. Just vise versa, according to Jagland the overall situation of human rights defenders in the country has deteriorated dramatically, the number of human right defenders imprisoned has increased.

Human rights problems in Azerbaijan are, of course, not something new for anyone, the criticism from such a high level and particularly the steps that followed it, can be considered as a new phenomenon. During the recent year Europe periodically criticizes Azerbaijan for human rights violations and repressions against own society. However, as the experience and the time showed, these announcements left the situation not only the same, but they were completely ignored, while the internal political situation in Azerbaijan gradually worsened. Maybe it was the fear of having an uncontrolled situation that made Europe turn from announcements into concrete actions, which became a reason for the deterioration of the relations between Europe and Azerbaijan.

This new stage of Azerbaijan-Europe relations was marked by the adoption of a resolution by the European Parliament, which was again criticizing human rights violations in Azerbaijan. Usually any criticism towards Azerbaijan receives a very hysteric response, which then is being followed by steps, very often devoid of any logic, which detaches Azerbaijan from Europe, contributing to its more isolation.

The adoption of this resolution by the European Parliament was quite unexpected for Azerbaijan, which was expressed by its actions.

Mili Mejlis in an answer to the resolution of the European Parliament, adopted a resolution terminating its membership in the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, as well as putting an end to its participation in the Parliamentary Cooperation Committee EU-Azerbaijan in the current format. Moreover, in the resolution the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan was recommended to reconsider the usefulness of the participation in the Eastern Partnership of the European Union.

As for the actions of Azerbaijan in response to the step of the Council of Europe, they are still limited to impulsive and criticizing announcements. Taking into consideration Azerbaijan’s previously used threats, that it can withdraw its membership from the Council of Europe, this step of the CE could become a good reason for implementing it. However, this was not done and hardly will be done right now, as Azerbaijan will keep this playing card to use it as a tool for threatening for other cases. Now Azerbaijan blames Europe for "injustice, double standards, for intervening into its internal politics" and no matter how strange it may sound, "advises" Europe "to think about its own problems, particularly about protecting the rights of migrants."

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