Civil society addresses an open letter to the President
A group of prominent Azeri intellectuals, civil society and NGO leaders, and independent journalists has addressed an open letter to Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The letter signed by 24 people states in particular:
As the representatives of the nation which was the leader of democratization in the Muslim world and created the first Democratic Republic with the Parliamentary rule [in the Muslim World], as the heirs of the ideas of freedom and liberal reforms, declared by our enlighteners and founders of the republic, which had a significant influence on the reforms in the region and beyond it, we appeal to you to create all the conditions for Azerbaijan to become a leader in integration in Europe and democratization both in the South Caucasus and beyond it.[…]
A fair distribution of resources and social prosperity is not possible without strong democratic institutions. We appeal to you not to limit your speeches only by stating economic and social objectives, but to make public the specific program on democratization and political reforms, which would promote Azerbaijan’s speedy integration in European structures.
The letter outlines 7-point demands needed for achievement of a democracy in Azerbaijan. The demands include publicizing the ideas of political freedom at all levels; use of TV for free political debates, education of democracy and critical thinking; releasing all the journalists and political prisoners; provision of independence of courts; and creating all necessary conditions for functioning of political parties, civil society groups and trade unions and for free entrepreneurship.
"It is an ability to create a free society, and not only a talent to maneuver among the regional powers, is the best evidence of the people’s high level and its worthy contribution to the world civilization", concludes the statement.
Ten of 24 signatories are women active in political and social life of the republic.