PEN International attended the United Nation’s 16th Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session in Geneva to conduct advocacy and deliver reports on freedom of expression in Uzbekistan, Russia, Azerbaijan, and Cameroon.
The UPR is the United Nation’s key human rights monitoring mechanism which offers a chance to regularly examine the situation in every member state. Other nations and civil society actors are invited to report and make recommendations. For more information see: http://www.upr-info.org/
On 1 May 2013 PEN International and Article 19 hosted a side event entitled ‘Azerbaijan: The individual cost of freedom of expression‘. The event included investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova and Human Rights Watch fellow Vugar Gojayev. Excerpts from Amazing Azerbaijan, a film that goes behind the glitzy facade promoted when the Eurovision Song Contest was held in Baku in May 2012 and tells the personal stories of human rights abuses to which Europe’s leaders turned a blind eye, was screened.
PEN International is also a signatory to a joint statement on Azerbaijan as part of the International Partnership Group on Azerbaijan (IPGA).
The IPGA is a coalition over 20 NGOs working to promote freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.
PEN International and Article 19 also hosted a side event entitled ‘Freedom of Expression in Russia: Escalating Attacks‘ which brought together Alexse Simonov, President of the Glasnost Defence Foundation and Vice-President of Russian PEN, and Yuri Dzhibladze, President of the Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights. The event was chaired by Article 19′s Senior Programme Officer for Europe Nathalie Losekoot.