16 November 2001
NEWS BRIEFSAzerbaijani Journalists Staged A Protest
A group of Azerbaijani journalists, most of them from the suspended newspapers "Milletin sesi" and "Bakinskii bulvar," attempted to stage a protest action in Baku at 1500 on 15 November, but police blocked prevented them from doing so. The journalists had sent a warning letter to the Baku municipal authorities but the latter did not give permission for the protest, fearing that it might be held with political goals. Legal proceedings have been brought against three employees of the newspapers "Milletin sesi" and "Bakinskii bulvar." Three other employees of the newspaper "Ulus" are still under arrest. The organizers of the action plan to stage a picket in front of the monument to Azerbaijan's great writer and publicist Hasanbey Zerdabi.
Police officials took away placards the journalists were carrying and confiscated documents from Shahbaz Khuduoglu, editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Milletin sesi," who was beaten together with "Bakinskii bulvar" editor-in-chief Elmar Huseynov. The journalists returned and voiced different slogans. It made the police officials more aggressive, and they detained Khuduoglu, Huseinov and other journalists who were forced into police cars. Members of some journalists organizations were exposed to humiliation and violence.
Azer Hesret, Chairman of the Journalists' Trades Union, noted that police anarchy in Azerbaijan is already becoming the norm. He said journalists' appeals to the Baku municipal authorities are always rejected on untenable grounds. Hesret told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani service that the arrested journalists have not been released. Moreover, those who tried to enquire about the fate of those detained were subjected to violence by police outside district police department 9.
Invalids Protest Abolition Of Allowances
The clearer the information about the allowances to be cancelled beginning 1 January becomes, the more society becomes concerned. It is not difficult to predict the future lives of the pensioners, war veterans and Karabakh invalids who found it difficult to make ends meet even when they still received such allowances. Privileged people who predict the situation want to stage actions of protest. In an interview with the agency Olaylar, former fighters of the Karabakh war expressed their intention to stage protest actions, even hunger strikes. According to the agency, the veterans have appealed to the Ministries of Finance and Economic Development and the Societies for the Protection of Karabakh Invalids, Martyrs and Veterans.
The Society of Karabakh Invalids also protests the cancellation of social benefits. According to the society's deputy chairman Firudin Mammadov, they have talked with other organizations affected by the measure, all of which seem displeased. As for the demands the Karabakh invalids will raise, Mammadov noted that when the Karabakh invalids staged actions of protest with social demands, some parliament members suggested that if the allowances for the Karabakh invalids were cancelled, then they should be paid $200 compensation. The invalids then consented to the abolition of the allowances. Mammadov says that they do not want allowances for water, gas and light, provided that the invalids' benefits are not reduced.
Conference On Women's Rights Was Held In Baku
The Society for Protection of Women's' Rights held on 15 November a conference to discuss together with women's rights organizations the problem of violence against women. The conference coincided with the international campaign of combating gender violence. Conference participants stated unequivocally that violence against Azerbaijani women began with the Armenian-Azerbaijanian conflict. Thousands of women were driven from their homes. Today, Azerbaijani women are faced with dozens of inter-connected problems. Today, many Azerbaijani women are unemployed and deprived of the opportunity to educate their children. Conference participants also expressed concern that national moral values are dying out today in Azerbaijani families. They said the military aggression against Azerbaijan forms the basis of the Azerbaijani women's tragedy.
It was pointed out that both women and teenage girls are exposed to more violence in Azerbaijan's Southern districts. Women's rights are routinely violated by courts.
The conference decided to establish a coordination council in order to study ways to solve women's problems in the republic.
PRESS REVIEWMusavat Party leader Isa Gambar in an interview with the newspaper "Yeni Musavat" said that the government and the opposition need dialogue. Gambar said that proposals for inter-opposition integration are already yielding serious results. As they changed the agenda, the integration process among the opposition is gaining speed. Now intensive discussions are continuing. Isa Gambar says that the press does not cover all those discussions. Contacts among opposition leaders are extensive. Gambar expressed confidence that they will gain certain results in the near future.
Heydar Oghuz writes in the newspaper "Hurriyyet" that it is impossible to create a lobby with the existing regime, because Heydar Aliev's government is the creator of all problems and the main reason for the failure to form an Azerbaijani lobby. However, Azerbaijan must establish its lobby. The only way to do this is seeking ways to get rid of the Heydar Aliyev regime. Yet nobody thinks seriously about how to accomplish this. The author writes that both children and adults are afraid of Heydar Aliyev in Azerbaijan.
Shahveled Chobanoglu writes in the newspaper "Yeni Musavat" that the World Congress of Azerbaijanis held some days ago in Baku can be considered successful as a historical event. But interesting cases come out when analyzing the political sides of the event. First of all, it is still not clear why the Southern Azerbaijanis were not invited to the congress. Secondly, it was impossible for many people to enter the congress hall. The people included those living in the U.S., Russia and several other countries. Now the Azerbaijanis who were invited to the Congress recognize what having no motherland means. The author notes that the majority of those people who were invited to the congress from Russia once fled Azerbaijan because of Heydar Aliev's regime.
Ittifag Mirzebeyli in an article "Mean attitude to a glorious congress" carried by the government newspaper "Khalg" writes that those who criticize the World Congress of Azerbaijanis are acting contrary to Azerbaijan's interests. Those who call themselves opposition talk nonsense in their address to the congress. Some opposition writers have also joined such people and defend them. They are those writers who are known as clerks of opposition leaders. The author writes that the de-facto gathering of the World Azerbaijanis is a historical event. Not evaluating the event is equal to denying the Sun.
Azer Huseinbala writes in the newspaper "Yeni Musavat" that since the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party was established and came to power, nothing has changed in Azerbaijan. Now, Heydar Aliyev wants to bring to power his son, who is not able to make any changes. But it seems that the need for serious election has appeared in YAP. The author writes that despite inter-YAP conflicts, Ilham Aliev's team will be elevated to the leadership of the party at YAP's upcoming congress because it is high time for many YAP members led by Heydar Aliyev to retire.
The newspaper "Yeni Azerbaijan" writes that they want to turn Nagorno-Karabakh to a nuclear zone. Even though Russia and Armenia have taken on lease a part of the occupied lands, they are mainly engaged in poisoning those territories. The newspaper writes referring to political scientist R.Novruzoglu's studies that both Russia and Armenia hare burying spent nuclear waste in Armenia's territory. This waste is buried in the occupied districts and villages of Nagorno Karabakh. Consequently, vegetation in the Kolatag, Seyidbeyli and Almali villages of the northeastern part of Khojali has been destroyed.
Kenan writes in the newspaper "525" that everybody in Azerbaijan awaits the final decision of the joint commission of the U.S. Senate and the Chamber of Representatives. According to Kenan, the Armenian lobby in the U.S. is trying desperately to hinder the repeal of Section 907. The developments show that Armenians have been able to influence the discussions about 907 in their favor.
The newspaper "Azadlig" carries an article regarding the same issue reporting that the discussions on the repeal of Section 907 will be continued this December. The newspaper writes that the discussions, which were attended by Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister, were held in very tense conditions. The Azerbaijani side mainly protested the clause that "the assistance to be allotted to Azerbaijan must not be used against Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia." Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Vilayat Guliyev met on 14 November with U.S. officials to demanding that they take into consideration Azerbaijan's interests as well.
(Compiled and translated by Arifa Alieva)