-In a press statement issued today, December 2, Czech organization People In Need (PIN) dismissed any of the accusations: “The accusations of being pro-Armenian are a common, old method used by Azerbaijani propaganda to brush off any criticism and to divert attention from the country’s disastrous human rights record. This is yet another example of what other international organizations working on Azerbaijan have faced”.
On November 20 during this year’s General Assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum held in Batumi, an Azerbaijani delegation reportedly ripped off several posters showing the names of the political prisoners in Azerbaijan. The posters were part of a special exhibition on Azerbaijan organized by PIN.
As it was later reported by PIN, on the opening day of the Forum, one of the members of the Azerbaijani delegation ripped some of the posters in protest of Azerbaijan being signled out.
Shortly after the incident, PIN was subject to smear campaign in Azerbaijani media outlets being accused of its pro- Armenian stand and connections.
“I think the accusation of being pro-Armenian is absurd because we believe that supporting those who are working hard to make their government stick to the rule of law, respect human rights, hold the government accountable and less corrupt is one of the best investment in the country’s future,” concludes Šimon Pánek.
Commenting on the incident and the allegations, PIN Director Šimon Pánek said none of the other Eastern Partnership countries NGOs are facing as "intense and focused crackdown" as in Azerbaijan.
Following a recent visit to Azerbaijan, Nils Muiznieks, 3rd European Council Commissioner on Human Rights said in a written statement, "all of his partners were in jail".
"Established in 1992 in Prague as a non-governmental organization, PIN has never represented the position of any government. Over two decades since its foundation, PIN has worked in about 60 countries around the globe in humanitarian and development aid or human rights and democracy assistance. The views of organization’s founders who have no role in PIN’s management today, do not reflect the official position, strategy or policies of the organization."