Azeri song about human rights03.05.2012 | 16:48
After Azerbaijan gained the right to host the Eurovision-2012, the interest of the international community to this country has increased dramatically. And if the scope of interest of some countries is history, culture and tradition, the attention of other is focused on the political situation in Azerbaijan.
On the eve of the song contest German media and human rights organizations are showing increased interest to the country. Publications about the violation of journalists' rights, political prisoners and the problems of ordinary citizens of Azerbaijan became frequent.
But even such harsh words as Christoph Strasser's call to boycott Eurovision due to the human rights violations in Azerbaijan do not force the authorities to reconsider their attitude to this issue. Note that Christoph Strasser is authorized by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly to study the situation with the political prisoners in Azerbaijan. But to he cannot get to Azerbaijan. It is hard to say why. In his statement, he points to the fact that he could not get the appropriate visa and proper invitation. At the same time, Baku states it doesn't put any obstacles to Mr. Strasser.
We have talked to Azerbaijani political scientist Vafa Guluzade about how are the violations of human rights and the Eurovision connected with each other.
- How do you feel how sincere is Christoph Strasser's call to boycott the Eurovision with regard to human rights violations in the country?
- Well, first of all, I believe there will be no boycott, of course. Firstly, due to the fact that Mr. Strasser has no such power to boycott the contest. Secondly, I do not believe in his sincerity. He has a long-standing confrontation with the Government of Azerbaijan. He repeatedly stated that he could not come to Baku, that he could not get a visa.
- And is that true that he can't get a visa?
- It's hard to say. Appropriate structures are engaged in issuance of visas, and they have all the information.
- Mr. Strasser has repeatedly stressed that if he cannot come to Azerbaijan, he would prepare a report on political prisoners in absentia. What does it threaten?
- Nothing. Firstly, this report will not be impartial, and secondly, it will not objectively reflect the current situation around political prisoners. He will prepare a report on the basis of the materials that he will have, and he won't see anything with his own eyes.
- Local MPs believe that there are structures in Germany leading anti-Azerbaijani propaganda in collusion with local opposition. And they do not rule out that Strasser has a similar tactic of behavior. German ambassador to Azerbaijan and German ombudsman are being attributed to the same list. Chairman of Azerbaijani group in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Samed Seyidov openly stated at yesterday's meeting of the spring session of Parliament: "We do not want Strasser to come here as commissioner for political prisoners". But parliament speaker Oktay Asadov said that Strasser's call to boycott the Eurovision shows his level first of all. What do you think?
- I do not approve it. If someone makes a specific comment in relation to Azerbaijan, the media or Strasser, we must either disprove this statement, if it is not true, or not to respond at all, if it is true. And all sorts of high-profile attacks or verbal skirmish should not have a place in politics.
- Local opposition has become more active before the contest. The protests have become systematic. But authorities say that the opposition would have waited until the end of the contest and then scream as they want. Does the opposition want to draw attention to itself or to the problems in the country?
- They realize that now they may hold protests relatively calm and smoothly. In anticipation of the Eurovision them no one will touch them, while after the contest they will have less freedom. And, of course, all eyes are now turned at our country, so it's the best time to announce themselves, as well as the problems in the country. This is right of opposition in any state.