This week, John Alexander, Member of Parliament for Bennelong, has met with Mr Fatiyev from the Azerbaijani parliament to raise concerns about human rights and their relationship with their Armenian neighbours.
In the House of Representatives, John said:
“As Chair of the House Standing Committee on Economics I met with the Chair of the Azerbaijan-Australia inter parliamentary group Mr Fatiyev and his delegation yesterday, to discuss our trade relationship and the potential for strengthening economic ties.
I made clear my concerns that any growth in our relationship should be based on a commitment by Azerbaijan to improve their respect for human rights and political freedoms.
Last month the Azeri government handed down lengthy prison sentences to outspoken human rights activists Leyla & Arif Yunus – in a prosecution described by Human Rights Watch as a “despicable political show trial”.
Last week the European Parliament passed a resolution to apply targeted sanctions and visa bans against Azeri officials and called on the government to release political prisoners.
I also raised my strong concerns about Azerbaijan’s actions in the on-going dispute with Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan has invested over $1 billion in armoured vehicles and artillery in the past few years, making a mockery of any supposed desire for peace in the region.
As we commemorate the centenary of the commencement of the Armenian Genocide it is essential for us as community leaders to call out persecution, and to stress to trading partners like Azerbaijan the importance of protecting human rights and political freedoms for all.”