The EU, Human Rights and Azerbaijan
Soon, hundreds of millions of television viewers around the world will tune in to the Eurovision Song Contest to enjoy their yearly dose of glittery Euro-pop and turbo-folk. Whether they want it or not, they will also see presentations of the host country – Azerbaijan – as a happy and harmonious nation. The truth is that this year, Eurovision takes place in a country where the presidency is inherited from father to son, where elections are rigged, and where human rights activists are arrested.
The EU can potentially wield a very strong leverage in the former Soviet countries. In 2009, the EU created the Eastern Partnership program, with an aim to improve relations between the 27 member states and the six post-soviet states of Belorussia, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The programme also aims to promote the rule of law and human rights.
Eurovision is a good occasion to look into the human right situation in the rim of Europe:
– What is the status more than 20 years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union?
– What are the results after three years of Eastern Partnership?
– What are the challenges that lie ahead?
To help answer these questions, the European Movement is happy to present three very qualified speakers:
• Marek Svoboda, Director, Centre for Democray and Human Rights, Prague
• Berit Lindeman, Senior Advisor, Den norske Helsingforskomité
• Martin Lassen Skylv, Head of political section, Delegation of the European Union to Norway
Moderator: Anders Nordeng, leader ofthe European Movement in Oslo
The meeting is open; we nevertheless appreciate registration in advance on our website: www.europabevegelsen.no