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Pope Francis leaves Armenia ending his pastoral visit

Pope Francis and Catholicos of All Armenians visit Khor Virap Monastery at the foot of Ararat and launch doves of peace

Aliyev says Azerbaijani armed forces seized part of Karabakh districts during April aggression

Serzh Sargsyan: Pope Francis' calls for peace and tolerance are a powerful signal for peaceful settlement of regional problems

Serzh Sargsyan: I am sure we will find the best possible option of settlement for Nagorno-Karabakh people

President of Armenia calls on Armenians worldwide to unite to settle the three fundamental issues of the Armenian people

Karekin II and Pope Francis sign Common Declaration: "We express our hope for a peaceful resolution of the issues surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh"

Armenian President: We are grateful to Pope Francis for visiting Armenia and showing warm attitude to Armenian people

Vatican reacts to Turkey’s criticism: “Pope has never been on a Crusade, he tries to build peace rather than to wage war”

Pope Francis: “May the Armenian Church walk in peace and may the communion between us be complete.”

Karekin II: The processes of secularism are intensifying, spiritual and ethical values and views are distorted, and the family structure, established by God, is being shaken

Pontifical Divine Liturgy underway in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin at the St. Trdat Open Air Altar

Ilham Aliyev: Nagorno-Karabakh will never get independence

Karekin II: More practical steps must be taken by Christian churches on the road to searching for peace

Pope to Armenian people: Your sufferings are our own

Pope Francis participates in ecumenical meeting with Patriarch of Armenian Apostolic Church, Karekin II, in Yerevan

Police make statement over recent detentions in Yerevan

Police confirm reports on detention of activist Shant Haroutiunyan's son

Detentions continue in Yerevan

Pope Francis sends telegram to Turkish president

Pope Francis visits Church visits Armenian Apostolic Cathedral of the Seven Wounds and the Holy Martyrs Armenian Catholic Cathedral in Gyumri.

Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J. says Pope Francis speaks about past tragedies not to inflame wounds, but to help create grounds for reconciliation

Federico Lombardi says Pope Francis enjoyed magnificent view of Biblical Mount Ararat

Pope Francis visits Our Lady of Armenia Catholic Educational Center in Gyumri, Armenia

Pope Francis expresses his gratitude to religious and civil authorities of Armenia

Pope Francis talks to the faithful

Pope Francis delivers a homily in Gyumri

Venice Commission experts make remarks about new proposals on Electoral Code of Armenia

Arsen Khojoyan, who was taken captive in Azerbaijan, kills a 17-year-old girl in Armenia

Pope Francis holding his first Mass in Gyumri, Armenia

OSCE MG urges Azerbaijan and Armenia to remove all remaining obstacles to expanding OSCE CiO Personal Representative's mission

Pope Francis and Catholicos of All Armenians arrive in Gyumri

Pope Francis visits Tsitsernakaberd Memorial dedicated to Armenian Genocide victims

Monument to Grigor Narekatsi to be erected in Vatican, Director of Holy See Press Office Federico Lombardi says

OSCE CiO Frank-Walter Steinmeier is expected to travel to South Caucasus

President Serzh Sargsyan and His Holiness Pope Francis had private meeting

Pope quotes Charents: Our turquoise sky, our clear waters, the flood of light, the summer sun and the proud winter borealis... our age-old stones ... our ancient etched books which have become a prayer

Charge pressed against commander of serviceman driven to suicide

Souvenir sheet and mini-sheet with four stamps dedicated to visit of Pope Francis to Armenia put into circulation

Zurabishvili: Ankara has always supported Tbilisi's aspirations including integration into NATO

Naira Zohrabyan: It is necessary to suppress Turkish fascism

Nino Burjanadze: It is absolutely unfavorable for Georgia to join NATO now

Situation around Nagorno-Karabakh is rather vulnerable, Ambassador Piotr Switalski says

Pope Francis arrives in Armenia

Central Valley Congressmen urge US to follow Pontiff's lead in reaffirming Armenian Genocide

Electricity price in Armenia to be reduced by 2.58 drams on Aug 1 2016

Eduard Sharmazanov sees generally positive tendency in Karabakh peace process

France-based committee for political prisoners in Armenia addresses Pope Francis over Zhirayr Sefilyan's detention

Vice Speaker of Armenian Parliament says Moscow reacted very strongly to Baku's attempt to distort situation around Karabakh

Senior advisor on Iran at the U.S. State Department says Armenia contributed to Iran's recent nuclear deal with the West

Regional

Azerbaijan 'makes mockery of democratic aspirations' in civil society crackdown, says OSCE PA human rights chair

  • Saturday, August 2, 20:44

Isabel Santos (MP, Portugal), the Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, today deplored the intensifying crackdown on civil society in Azerbaijan and called on authorities to quickly reverse the trend.

"With this latest round of attacks on the country's civil society, Azerbaijan is making a mockery of its stated aspirations to become a modern, democratic state. I am shocked by developments that have occurred in the last several days alone -- namely, the barring of human rights activist Rasul Jafarov from leaving the country and the clearly politicized charges against Leyla Yunus and her husband," Santos said.

"The fact that these and other disturbing developments have come less than a month after Baku hosted the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Annual Session makes them all the more shameful. I call on Azerbaijan's authorities to take their OSCE human rights commitments seriously and immediately reverse this downward spiral," Santos added.

The PA's human rights chair also referred to a clause in the Baku Declaration, the final document approved by Parliamentarians from across the OSCE area at the conclusion of the recent Annual Session, that "expresses concern at the misuse of administrative procedures and legislation to detain, imprison, intimidate or otherwise silence human rights defenders and critics in numerous OSCE participating States, including Azerbaijan:"

Activist Rasul Jafarov, the chair of the Legal Protection and Awareness Society, has worked to bring human rights violations in Azerbaijan to the attention of the international community. His ban on traveling abroad was revealed this week when he attempted to cross into Georgia. His bank account has also been frozen and he has been subject to official harassment.  Jafarov was one of several leading activists who assisted Santos in organizing a side event on fundamental freedoms in Azerbaijan at the OSCE PA Annual Session. The event was attended by prominent Azerbaijani MPs, who actively engaged in discussion on the topics raised. 
Leyla Yunus, the director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy in Azerbaijan, and her husband, Arif Yunus, were arrested on 30 July on charges of treason, tax evasion and other financial crimes. The NGO defends political prisoners, exposes corruption and promotes people-to-people exchanges between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The OSCE PA's human rights chair also expressed concern over the sentencing last month of Azerbaijani education activist and NGO leader Hasan Huseynli to six years in prison on trumped up charges.

Santos also noted with regret the announcement that independent Azerbaijani newspaper "Azadliq" has been forced to suspend publishing due to financial problems. The newspaper has faced official pressure apparently in connection to its reporting on corruption. She described the development as "another blow to the already state-dominated media landscape."

Santos further reiterated her intention to visit jailed Azerbaijani rights defender Anar Mammadli, the Chairman of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre. In early June, she formally requested permission to visit Mammadli during the OSCE PA Annual Session in Baku, but has yet to receive a response from the authorities.

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