AEJ Resolutions denounce sweeping state surveillance and warn Azerbaijan is unfit to take up Council of Europe chairmanship in 2014

The General Assembly of the Association of European Journalists, meeting in Brussels on Saturday 23 November, unanimously adopted two Resolutions.
Resolution on secret interception of communications by state agencies denounces recent revelations of massive and inadequately supervised surveillance and opposes governments’ attempts to stop whistleblowers and the media from reporting the facts. The Resolution on serious abuses of human rights in Azerbaijan and other countries draws special attention to the persecution of media and human rights figures in Azerbaijan. It calls on the responsible authorities of the Council of Europe to postpone Azerbaijan’s six-month chairmanship of the organisation, currently scheduled to start in May 2014, until it conforms to the organisation’s rules.
The full texts of the two Resolutions are as follows:
Resolution 1/2013 on secret interception of communications by state agencies
“The AEJ General Assembly gathering in Brussels on Saturday 23 November applauds the recent revelations by Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers of widespread and secret snooping by state intelligence agencies which is not clearly justified as necessary to combat terrorism or crime, and strongly condemns such intrusions on freedom and privacy.
The AEJ General Assembly denounces the determined attempts to silence such people; opposes attempts to suppress such information by interfering in the media’s duty to report;and upholds the right to public disclosure of illegal activity.”
Resolution 2/2013 on serious abuses of human rights in Azerbaijan and other European countries
“The General Assembly of the European Journalists Association (AEJ) meeting in Brussels on November 22/23 2013 condemns the crackdown on media representatives and human rights advocates in a growing number of European countries, including Azerbaijan, Belarus and Russia.
Azerbaijan, which is due to take over the chairmanship of the Council of Europe’s Council of Ministers in May 2014, must free journalists such as Rashad Ramazanov, a blogger critical of the President of Azerbaijan recently jailed for nine years on dubious charges of possession of drugs, and Sardar Alibeyli, the editor of the PS Nota publication, who has been given a 4-year prison sentence on charges of hooliganism.
The AEJ also calls for charges to be dropped against Elgan Mammadov, a civil society leader and the director of the Baku School of Political Studies of the Council of Europe.
Similarly, Anar Mammadli, the head of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre (EMDS), Bashir Suleymanli, the EMDS executive director, and Elnur Mammadli, the head of the ICV public union, have been placed under criminal investigation for receiving foreign grants to fund election observation of the presidential election on 9 October this year. This investigation must also be dropped.
Azerbaijan must live up to the commitments it made when it joined the Council of Europe, including respect for human rights, democratic values and the rule of law.
If Azerbaijan continues to treat its dissenting voices with a blatant disregard for basic rights, the Council of Europe should postpone Azerbaijan’s chairmanship until such time as it conforms to the organisation’s rules.”

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