At the forum “Can US sanctions help the Azerbaijani dissidents?”, organized on December 13 in Washington by the organization of “American Azerbaijanis for Democracy (AZAD), for the first time was toughly raised the issue on sanctions against Azerbaijani officials that were involved in human rights violation and freedoms in Azerbaijan. Commenting on the results of the forum for the Azerbaijani service of the “Voice of America» (VOA) the organizers and participants summarized the causes and steps for operating the sanctions, the Azerbaijani news agency “Turan” reports.
As it is noted in the article, the chairman of AZAD Elmar Shakhtakhtinski said the forum sends a message to Azerbaijani authorities that the violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms as well such an attitude towards their people will receive a corresponding response. “We wanted to make it clear that the policy of official Baku is leading not to a rapprochement with the West but rather with authoritarian regimes,” said Shakhtakhtinski.
David Kramer, the former head of the human rights organization “Freedom House”, present director of the Human Rights and Democracy at the institute of McCain told the VOA, that the last massive pressure on the opposition, the arrest of journalist Khadija Ismayilova has caused serious concern in the United States, and therefore in February, after the holidays, at a congressional hearing the human rights topic in Azerbaijan will be important.
“I’m in favor of targeted sanctions, such as non-issuance of visas and freezing of bank accounts of those involved in human rights abuses. These steps are intended to release political prisoners and to stop the persecution of opponents,” Kramer said.
As stated in the article, Kramer also voiced another way to show pressure on the Azerbaijani authorities – a call for a boycott of the first European Olympic Games in Baku in 2015. “We must make sure that these games do not become a grand event for Aliyev with participation of European leaders,” he said.