Plenary speech on sport and Human Rights, including in the context of the Baku European Games

Please read Schaake's press release: MEP: No European politicians to European Games in Baku until political prisoners are released. Marietje Schaake (ALDE) Mr President, the Azerbaijani authorities are eager to host high-level, high-visibility international events. They bring status, visitors and media attention. But the limelight of the European Games cannot and will not overshadow the very troubling human rights situation in Azerbaijan, where an unprecedented number of people are imprisoned. Opposition leaders, journalists, human rights defenders – and really anyone who is critical – risk intimidation and imprisonment, and some of the brightest minds have now fled the country. It is not appropriate to have EU officials participating in ceremonies starting in a couple of days, so long as political prisoners are not released. After all, the label ‘European’ should mean something. When rights are respected, we can build a much more powerful and meaningful partnership between the EU and Azerbaijan. In the meantime we will not forget the political prisoners, and we urge the Azerbaijani authorities to release them as soon as possible and to allow human rights NGOs, such as Amnesty International, access to the country.
See also Schaake’s Parliamentary work on Azerbaijan: 15-04-2015 Open Letter Regarding the Human Rights Situation in Azerbaijan 17-09-2014 Resolution on the persecution of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan 13-06-2013 Plenary speech on Azerbaijan, the case of Ilgar Mammadov 24-05-2012 Plenary speech & Resolution on the human rights situation in Azerbaijan 15-12-2011 Plenary speech & Resolution on Azerbaijan, in particular the case of Rafig Tagi 12-05-2011 Plenary speech & Resolution on Azerbaijan 17-12-2009 Plenary speech on Azerbaijan, freedom of expression