Presented by the Permanent Representative of ireland Ambassador Patricia O'Brian the joint statement on the situation of human rights in Azerbaijan raised concerns about the shrinking space for civil society in the country, imprisonment of independent voices, in particular human rights defenders, and called for their immediate and unconditional release.
The statement specifically called for an immedidiate release of Intigam Aliyev, Anar Mammadli, Rasul Jafarov, Khadija Ismayilova, Rauf Mirgadirov, and Leyla and Arif Yunus. It unambiguously denounced the Azerbaijani authorities’ "systematic silencing of critical voices".
The statement voiced during the 29th Session of the UN Human Rights Council was supported by a group of 25 states and delivered under the council's agenda item 4 (dedicated to the most serious situations of human rights violations).
The united statement, is the first in the history of Azerbaijan. According to FIDH, this join statement "reflects the gravity of the situation and the mounting human rights crisis in the country, as it is hosting the first European Games, and sends a clear message to the government that it is under international scrutiny, and will remain so unless actual reform is carried out, with immediate steps to be taken (i.e., the release of arbitrarily detained dissenting voices)."
The statement called on the government of Azerbaijan to "cooperate fully in the field of human rights with the international community, including the United Nations and relevant regional organizations, such as the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE - although the latter was recently closed and its mission was requested to leave the country)."
On February 23, ahead of the 28th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), 11 human rights organiations reached out to the intergovernmental body to "address Azerbaijan's rapidly deteriorating environment for human rights defenders (HRDs), civil society organizations (CSOs) and independent media".