Official Baku has strongly condemned the U.S. human rights group Freedom House for again asserting that Nagorno-Karabakh is governed by a less repressive administration than Azerbaijan.
Freedom House evaluated 195 countries and 14 disputed territories in an annual survey of civil rights and liberties around the world released last week. It rated Armenia and Karabakh “partly free” and kept Azerbaijan in the “not free” category of nations surveyed. Furthermore, the “Freedom in the World” survey downgraded Azerbaijan’s already poor civil liberties rating due to “blatant property rights violations by the government.”
Elman Abdullayev, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman, hit out at the respected watchdog in comments reported by Azerbaijani news agencies over the weekend. “Instead of making a legal evaluation of the policy of bloody ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijanis, crimes against humanity, mass deportations of Azerbaijanis from their lands, and Armenia’s provocative actions hampering peace negotiations, Freedom House includes a separatist structure created by Yerevan in its report,” he said, according to APA.
“Thus, Freedom House has proved that it is a biased organization which is far from sublime ideals declared by itself, disrespects the tragedy of the Azerbaijani people, and in fact pursues a policy of pressure. With this approach, the organization and its sponsors are showing their real face,” charged Abdullayev.
Freedom House upgraded Nagorno-Karabakh’s status from “not free” to “partly free” in the previous “Freedom in the World” survey released a year ago. The watchdog attrbitued that to a “competitive” July 2012 presidential election in Karabakh, which it said featured a “genuine opposition.”
Azerbaijan’s last presidential election held in October 2013 was strongly criticized by observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.