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Azeri government must fulfil commitments on human rights, group says

Azerbaijan's human rights record is inconsistent with standards embraced by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and thus risks undermining the integrity of the institution's human rights principles, Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS) said in a report released today at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation meeting in Warsaw.

The report, Azerbaijan and the OSCE: Ignoring the Human Dimension, details Azerbaijan's consistent failure to seriously address recommendations made by the OSCE on measures needed to improve the human rights situation in the country.

While Azerbaijan has historically made an effort to cooperate with the OSCE – at least, on the surface – this year has been a troubled one for the OSCE-Azerbaijan relationship, the report says. The Azerbaijani government has expressed increasing hostility towards the organization, culminating in an eventual consensus decision to downgrade the mandate of the OSCE Office in Baku to a Project Coordination Office, which will take effect in January 2014.

Ensuring that participating states respect human rights is a core function of the OSCE. To this end, the report provides a set of recommendations to the OSCE for specific steps needed to improve Azerbaijan's implementation of its obligations.

The report is made possible thanks to support from a Danish NGO, International Media Support (IMS).

For more information about IRFS (www.irfs.org) and IMS (www.i-m-s.dk) visit their websites.

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