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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07BAKU1285 2007-10-25 13:26:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Baku
Cable title:  

HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS BRIEF AMBASSADOR ON PACE

Tags:   PGOV PREL PHUM KDEM AJ 
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VZCZCXRO9188
PP RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHKB #1285 2981326
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 251326Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAKU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4110
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0455
RUEHSR/AMCONSUL STRASBOURG PRIORITY 0076
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA PRIORITY 0029
					  					
UNCLAS BAKU 001285

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KDEM AJ
SUBJECT: HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS BRIEF AMBASSADOR ON PACE
AZERBAIJAN SESSION


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION.

1, (SBU) On October 23, NGO representatives Arzu Abdullayeva,
Novella Jafaroglu, Saida Gojamanly, Saadat Benanyarly, and
Eldar Namazov briefed the Ambassador on their recent trip to
Strasbourg to participate in the October 1-5 Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) session. The group
said that the session, in part, was focused on reviewing the
situation in Azerbaijan in light of the April 2007 PACE
resolution, which assessed the state of democracy and human
rights in Azerbaijan and made recommendations to move
forward. According to Abdullayeva, those present were
pleased to "finally hear the truth" about Azerbaijan from the
human rights activists. Namazov said that PACE members had
told the group that the information the activists had
presented matched what they had heard from their respective
ambassadors to Azerbaijan. He said the activists are now
being treated "like partners" by PACE members, and noted that
the group's presentation at the April PACE session had
resulted in three specific points in the resolution.



2. (SBU) The activists were positive about an increased level
of Council of Europe (COE) engagement in Azerbaijan, noting
the high number of visits to Azerbaijan by a wide range of
COE bodies and officials. According to the group, if the
GOAJ does not fulfill the recommendations from the April
resolution before the next PACE session on Azerbaijan in
January, the COE will re-appoint a Special Rapporteur
designated to work only on the political prisoner situation
in Azerbaijan. While there had been two Special Rapporteurs
on political prisoners in Azerbaijan up until 2005, the new
position would also posses the authority to refer cases
directly to the European Court of Human Rights.



3. (SBU) Abdullayeva noted that the COE had dissolved the
previous Rapporteur positions after the creation of a joint
NGO-GOAJ political prisoner task force, when the COE
determined that sufficient action was being taken
domestically. According to Gojamanly, in spite of the GOAJ
"trying to hide" the situation, PACE now recognizes that a
political prisoner problem remains in Azerbaijan. The group
concurred that the political prisoner task force has had
limited achievements, but that no political prisoners have
been released since 2006. The NGO members of the task force
have long complained that the GOAJ was using the group to
appear to the international community that it was doing
something to address the problem, while in fact, it was not.



4. (SBU) Separately, Abdullayeva shared her plans to announce
on December 10 - the International Day of Human Rights - the
creation of the Democracy Council, in follow-up to then-DRL
A/S Lowenkron's December 2006 visit to Baku. Abdullayeva
envisions a council comprised of NGO representatives,
intellectuals, and "experts," perhaps even from the GOAJ,
coming together to assess the situation in Azerbaijan on
different democracy-related topics and then develop a
specific set of recommendations to move forward. She is
currently in the process of creating a proposal, and will be
seeking funding from the USG and others in the near future.



5. (SBU) In an October 24 meeting with the Ambassador to
provide an update on the range of issues handled by her NGO,
Institute of Peace and Democracy Director Leyla Yunus also
raised the issue of political prisoners and the possibility
of the creation of a new PACE Rapporteur. Yunus has worked
with a separate group of human rights activists to develop a
list of political prisoners slightly different from the one
created by the NGOs that are members of the political
prisoner task force. Like the group that visited Strasbourg,
Yunus believes the political prisoner problem remains a major
obstacle for Azerbaijan's democratic development. We will
continue to engage with the human rights activists on this
issue.
DERSE