Brussels, 17/03/2016

Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini on the release of human rights activists in Azerbaijan

Today, the President of Azerbaijan has pardoned 148 people, including representatives of political parties, NGOs and journalists, to mark the Novruz holiday.

This is a positive development which we have long awaited and which was discussed during my visit to Azerbaijan on 29 February.

The European Union hopes that further steps will follow leading to the full release and rehabilitation of all those currently imprisoned or under restriction of movement in Azerbaijan on political grounds, in line with Azerbaijan's international commitments as a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

An independent and diverse civil society makes an important contribution to a country's wellbeing and stability.