Stop abusing human rights
Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev, has suggested that some changes be made to the constitution, one of which would be the increase of the president’s term in office to 7 years, the president’s appointed vice-presidents would be introduced and land ownership rights would be restricted. In addition to this, the bill focuses particularly on human rights issues.
“An abuse of people’s rights is not permitted, reads the President’s proposed addendum to Article 24 on the human rights issue.
As it is expressed in the proposed addendum to Article 29 (securing the right to private ownership): “The right to private land ownership can be restricted for social justice and efficient land use purposes.
Under the addendum to Article 46 (on the freedom of assembly), these freedoms should be guaranteed provided that there is “no violation of the public order and public morality.
Besides this, it has been suggested that the age limits for the MP candidates (25 years) and presidential candidates (35 years) should be removed. It has also been proposed to introduce the post of Vice-President, who would be appointed directly by the President. Moreover, in this version of the constitution, in the event the President is unable to perform his duties, his powers would not be transferred to the Prime Minister, but rather to the Vice-President.
The President should also conferred the right to call snap presidential elections and dissolve the parliament.
This proposal was sent to the Constitutional Court to be decided upon, and then it will be put forward as a referendum.
Many were looking forward to the so-called ‘road map’, which, as the government has stated, was expected to lead the country out of the economic crisis, to diversify the economy (promised by the government on a number of occasions).
On the same day, the President addressed athletes at the farewell ceremony of the Azerbaijani delegation leaving for the summer Olympics, stating as follows:
“The crisis in 2008-2009, as well as in 2015-2016, has not had that great of an impact on our work. Why? Because the people and the government are united. Because there are no differences in society with regard to our country’s development. Because we live on our own expenses, we are economically and politically independent and we pursue an independent policy. This is a worthy policy, which is based on the interests of the Azerbaijani people, and we are open to the whole world. Therefore, the number of our friends is increasing. Respect for us is growing. And the number of those willing to cooperate with us is also increasing. We are going down our own road.‘
Anar Mammadli (a human rights activist and former political prisoner):
‘While the smart people in the post-oil era were looking forward to the government’s ‘road map’, the President signed a reactionary act on a referendum, thus outlining a plan to transition to a dictatorship.
His intentions are reactionary and anti-democratic, but at least they are sincere.’
Qudret Hesenquliyev (MP):
“I think these changes originate from foreign sources. Recent developments in the world and in the region give grounds for serious concern. If the talks with Armenia do not bring any success, Azerbaijan will be facing a bloody war. In order to be ready to respond to these challenges and ensure the country’s sustainable stability, the powers at be apparently view the way out as strengthening the role of president.
Natig Jafarli (an economist and ReAl movement board member):
“These changes are undermining the foundation of this system (it no longer matters whether it’s in a positive or negative way). A strong in-system opposition is formed: it doesn’t matter whether there will be 8 prime ministers appointed to office or whether the presidential candidates’ age threshold will be lowered to 16 and the president’s term in office to 17. None of this can help in solving the existing economic problems in the country.
A Facebook user’s comment:
“The Azerbaijani President is making changes in the Constitution like in his personal diary. Whenever he wants, he changes something; when it suits him, he crosses something out.