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Accordingly, the Assembly calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to: bring the legislation on defamation and NGOs into line with the requirements arising from the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and the recommendations of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission); The Assembly calls on the government to eliminate obstacles to the activities of NGOs and to step up meaningful dialogue with them and civil society and urges the latter to participate actively in a constructive and co-operative spirit.Given that this is a region currently experiencing considerable tension, the Assembly welcomes the secular nature of the State and its climate of religious tolerance, for example in relation to the Jewish community which, according to its representatives, lives in harmony with the rest of the population.It notes that the Azerbaijani authorities have initiated reforms of their judicial system following the relevant recommendations of the Council of Europe, in particular those of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ).Nevertheless, it finds that the concerns over the functioning of justice expressed in its Resolution 2062 (2015) remain valid.It is concerned about the reported problems concerning the use of criminal legislation to limit freedom of expression, as underlined by the Committee of Ministers in the context of its supervision of the application of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.The legislative framework for NGO activities has been judged insufficiently compliant with European standards by the bodies of the Council of Europe.
The Assembly shares the authorities’ concern to combat the financing of terrorism.
The Assembly stresses the fact that the exercise of the rights guaranteed in Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights is essential for the proper functioning of a democratic society.
The Assembly is concerned by allegations relating both to a restrictive climate for extra-parliamentary activities of the opposition and the limitations on the freedoms of expression and association, in particular with regard to independent media and advocates of freedom of expression.
The Assembly reiterates that the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment guaranteed by Article 3 of the Convention is a non-derogable right and it strongly condemns any violation of this right.
It calls on the authorities to: The Assembly considers that the judicial system in Azerbaijan must be independent and impartial.