On September 21, Europe's largest annual human rights conference- The Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIMs) organized by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) kicked off in Warsaw.
The event brings together hundreds of government representatives, experts, civil society representatives, and human rights activists.
"We gather again in Warsaw to review the implementation of human dimension commitments in a climate of diminishing space for freedom of expression by members of the media and increasing threats against journalists in numerous places across the OSCE region. Regrettably journalism remains a profession for which many pay the ultimate price for the pursuit and dissemination of facts and the expression of editorial opinion", said David J.Kramer in his address in Warsaw.
Kramer, spoke of the difficulties journalists face in countries like Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Hungary, Tajikistan, Western Balkans and others where authorities resort to various means of punishing dissent and critical perspectives.
"In Azerbaijan, the government's closure of the offices of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and its unjust imprisonment of investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova and other journalists narrowed the space for freedom of the media and expression. The United States shares concerns raised by the Representative on Freedom of the Media (RFoM) about freedom of expression and media in Azerbaijan. Even family members of media professionals in exile have been detained on questionable charges, including relatives of Ganimat Zahidov and Emin Milli."
Also during the conference, the Civic Solidarity Platform protested Azerbaijan's many political prisoners.
In the meantime, representatives from Azerbaijan complained of lack of support and recognition for the country's refugee and IDP crisis as well as the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.