Struggle for human rights in Azerbaijan deserves support

19 May 2016

Struggle for human rights in Azerbaijan deserves support

SP Members of Parliament Harry van Bommel and Michiel van Nispen , together with party colleague Senator Tiny Kox, met today with Azerbaijani human rights activists Leyla and Arif Yunus and their daughter Dinara. The meeting focused on the appalling human rights situation in the country.

Last year in Azerbaijan Leyla and Arif Yunus were condemned to several years in prison. Their sentence lead to world-wide protests from human rights organisations and political parties. While in detention the two were ill-treated. Since then, they have been provisionally released on medical grounds. They were allowed to travel to the Netherlands, where their daughter has been resident for some time. “The fact that Leyla and Arif are now in the Netherlands is the result of pressure being put on by the international community in national parliaments, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament,” says Van Bommel. “The SP has also repeatedly raised this question in our own national parliament. The Dutch government has put in a lot of effort to see that the couple were allowed to come to the Netherlands.”

Tiny Kox, who chairs the United Left Group in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the human rights-oriented treaty-based international body of which Azerbaijan is a member state, added that “it’s a very good thing that these human rights advocates from Azerbaijan are now here and furthermore that a considerable number of prisoners have recently at last been released, but the battle is certainly not yet over. Still more political prisoners are behind bars, for example the investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova and the opposition politician Ilgar Mammadov. They also deserve our support.”

In June of last year Michiel van Nispen took part in a protest, the ‘Run for Leyla’, a race organised by Amnesty International around the Azerbaijani embassy in The Hague.

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