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Freedom House: No country reacts as aggressive as Azerbaijan to reports of organization

No country in the world reacts to the report of Freedom House in such an aggressive manner as the Azerbaijani authorities do, Arch Puddington, the Vice President of the American Human Rights Organization Freedom House said in an interview with Azerbaijani News Agency Turan in connection with the recent accusations of the official Baku.

According to him it is not the first time that Azerbaijan reacts to the reports in a wrong way. Instead of discussing the issues highlighted by the Human Rights Organization, the authorities in politically unfair and unconvincing way attack Freedom House by organizing spam attacks on it.

To the question why the government of Azerbaijan reacts to Freedom House Puddington answered that this is not the only organization that gives a very critical assessment of the situation of democracy and human rights in Azerbaijan, so perhaps the government of Azerbaijan acts in the same manner with other organizations as well. "They are obviously unhappy with our estimates and reports. I don’t know why but they think that the availability of the reports in the press that contradict the reality and an online campaign against us would affect our analysis. Anyway it will not affect.”

Puddington states that if we look back at the historical period between the years of 1995, 1998 and 2000, Freedom House gave Azerbaijan much better estimates than the country receives today.

"Thus, we were not biased by Azerbaijan in 2000 when we ranked Azerbaijan as partially free country as we had expectations that the adherence to the standards of Human Rights could be improved in the country,” the Human Rights Defender said noting that the situation worsened in the last decade.

"I don’t know what it is. I know that Azerbaijan has energy resources and this is the reason why it is addressed diplomatically, specifically because it is an energy giant. In this regard our reports have less impact on Azerbaijan than they could have on the countries without energy resources. However, I also think that the leadership of Azerbaijan certainly would like to see their country recognized if not as a great power but at least a respected member of international diplomatic and economic sphere. Perhaps our reports in regard to this irritate them,” Puddington noted.

To the question about the inclusion of Nagorno Karabakh into the list of "partially free” countries the Human Rights Defender said that their organization gives individual assessment also to the areas which are not recognized as sovereign countries such as the West Bank , Gaza Strip , Palestine , Western Sahara , South Ossetia, Abkhazia Transnistria , Tibet and others.

Puddington stated that the organization doesn’t single out Nagorno Karabakh and doesn’t try to punish Azerbaijan.

"We don’t have pro-Armenian or pro-Azerbaijani bias. We assess the Nagorno Karabakh because it is a disputed territory. This is a territory the status of which is not decided yet and which is not controlled either by Azerbaijan or by Armenia. Our analysts considered that the situation in Nagorno Karabakh is such that it can be evaluated as "partially free” and that is why we gave that estimate,” Puddington said.

He also referred to the release of a call record by Azerbaijani Media where the director of Azerbaijani News Agency Turan Mehman Aliyev speaks with the alleged representative of the Freedom House some Evgeni who called from Ukraine to tell that they are ready "to make the changes” in Azerbaijan.

"Evgeni doesn’t work at Freedom House. We don’t know anyone by that name. And of course there was no phone call to Azerbaijan from the official saying that we are ready to aim at Azerbaijan. This is a primitive fable devised by Azerbaijani authorities,” Puddington declared.

Note that according to the Freedom House report "Freedom in the World 2014” Armenia and the Nagorno Karabakh Republic are ranked as "partially free” countries, while Azerbaijan is noted by the organization among the countries that recorded a significant decline in freedom.



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