A hearing on whether to extend the pretrial detention of an outspoken Azerbaijani activist is expected during the week of October 20, 2014. Leyla Yunus, who is in ailing health, has been held since July 30 and her husband, Arif, also ailing, since August 5, both on politically motivated charges.
The European Union staunchly supports the International Criminal Court. It advocates universal ICC membership to extend the reach of justice for grave abuses and to contribute to “peace and the strengthening of international security.” Yet EU member states are pressing Palestine not to seek ICC membership.
A counterterrorism bill before the French parliament would provide overly broad and vague powers that would breach rights to free movement and expression. The bill, proposed by the French government in July 2014 under an accelerated procedure, was adopted by the National Assembly in September and is now before the senate.
The October 9 visit by Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbaev, to Brussels will serve as a pointed reminder of the European Union’s colossal failure to secure human rights improvements as part of its engagement with this government, whose human rights record has gone from bad to worse in recent years.
European Union member states’ justice and home affairs ministers meeting in Luxembourg should take forward a comprehensive and collective EU response to search and rescue needs in the central Mediterranean to urgently save lives.
The depiction by Azerbaijan’s foreign minister of summer 2014“as a particularly dark time” in an October 2 speech at the Council of Europe couldn’t have been more fitting to describe the state of human rights in his own country.