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Europe concerned by Azeri rights issues

May 25, 2012 at 11:47 AM

BRUSSELS, May 25 (UPI) -- Members of the European Parliament called on Azerbaijan to end its suppression of human rights, adding Baku must get in line with international standards.

Baku this week played host to celebrations for the Eurovision Song Contest, set to get under way Saturday.

Members of the European Parliament adopted a resolution expressing concern over human rights abuses in the Azeri capital during the celebrations.

"Citing reported attacks, harassment, threats and imprisonment of journalists, human rights defenders and others seeking to express their opinions, Parliament calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to stop suppressing the freedom of expression and assembly and to bring their legislation in these areas into line with international standards," a statement read.

Human Rights Watch said police in Baku assaulted protesters who were demonstrating against the government of President Ilham Aliyev ahead of the competition.

The organization said it monitored Monday demonstrations in central Baku. Around 100 activists had gathered near a central metro station before being run off by authorities.

European lawmakers called for monitoring of the human rights situation in Azerbaijan should abuses persist.

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