The Government is concerned about the reducing space for civil society and freedom of expression in Azerbaijan, including the detention of a number of high profile members of civil society. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued a number of statements expressing concern, most recently on 17 and 23 April 2015, following the sentencing of human rights defender, Rasul Jafarov, and human rights lawyer, Intigam Aliyev respectively. We consistently raise our concerns both bilaterally and in international organisations such as the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the UN. We have encouraged Azerbaijan to use the opportunity of hosting the European Games to address legitimate concerns about restrictions on human rights.
The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Tobias Ellwood) will represent the UK at the Opening Ceremony of the European Games on 12 June.