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South Caucasian Human Rights Defenders in Geneva

15.03.2011

Salome Achba

On March 9-11 South Caucasian human rights defenders discussed the human rights situation in Caucasian Region in the UN Office in Geneva. The meeting was organized by the South Caucasian Network of Human Rights Defenders and Human Rights House.

Human rights defenders from all three states of South Caucasia (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia) and Northern Caucasus (Russian Federation) participated in the meeting. They issued a report on the state of human rights in their respective states.

Report on Armenia was presented by the representative of Political Prisoners’ Wives Melisa Brown and Armenia Helsinki Association representative Mikheil Danielian; Intiga Aliev, representative of Legal Education Society talked about the situation in Azerbaijan; the situation of Northern Caucasus was described by Gregory Shvedov, editor-in-chief of internet-magazine Caucasian Knot. Ucha Nanuashvili, executive director of Human Rights Center talked about Georgia. The meeting was headed by the regional manager of Human Rights House Ane Bonde.

According to Ucha Nanuashvili, the meeting was rather productive: “Our goal was to objectively inform the international society on the human rights situation in Georgia. We invited the diplomatic corpus accredited in Geneva and the representative of international organizations who are interested in Georgia and generally the issues of South Caucasia.”

“When the state authorities do not want to hear the human rights defenders, these kinds of meetings give them an opportunity to reach the governments of their respective states by diplomatic corpus. It is unfortunate that many diplomats from Western Europe did not attend the meeting. They should understand that Caucasia is situated near.

Certainly there is not the same situation like in Lybia, but it is necessary that the international society pays attention to Caucasus so to avoid the situation similar to Lybia. Besides, it is essential not to disappoint those who expect help from us,” – stated Florian Irminger, the head of Human Rights House Geneva Office to Caucasian Knot.

“Release Political Prisoners!” “Freedom of Expression and Assembly in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia!” – read the slogans of human rights defenders at the protest rally held at UN Office in Geneva. They also met with the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Margaret Sekaggya.

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