April 23, EU statement on human rights in Azerbaijan notes, "with dismay recent actions against several human rights defenders, adding to the impression that the authorities are systematically restricting the space for public discourse and civil society in Azerbaijan".
Prior to this statement, Dunja Mijatovic, Representative on the Freedom of the Meida already mentioned the arrest and sentencing of rights activist Rasul Jafarov as "nothing short of an act of injustice". Mijatovic added, "this systematic and wide-scale persecution of independent voices in Azerbaijan is a clear violation of the fundamental and basic human rights of freedom of expression".
In its statement, the EU calls on the government of Azerbiajan to respect its commitments as a signatory to a number of international conventions.
Azerbaijan signed EU-Azerbaijan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) in 1996 which entered into force in 1999. In 2001, the country joined the Council of Europe. Azerbaijan joined the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) in 2004. In 2006, ENP action plan for Azerbaijan was adopted. In 2014, Azerbaijan took over the chaimanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.