Closer cooperation between the Netherlands and Azerbaijan
The Netherlands and Azerbaijan have agreed to intensify their cooperation in the fight against organised crime. The two countries will exchange know-how and experience on illegal migration, people trafficking and the drugs trade.
Earlier this week in Baku, Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin reached agreement with the Azerbaijani Minister of Internal Affairs Ramil Usubov. The Dutch minister chose Azerbaijan as a regional partner because the country sits on an important crossroads between Eastern Europe and West Asia. It is also the largest and most densely populated country in the Caucasus. Minister Hirsch Ballin believes its strategic location makes Azerbaijan of importance to the Netherlands.
The Dutch government hopes the intensified cooperation will give it better insight in the way people trafficking networks operate.
In addition to exchanging know-how, the Netherlands also wants to assist Azerbaijan in building a constitutional state. At present, human rights are not always observed. Earlier this year, Azerbaijan was reprimanded by the European Court of human rights because journalist Eynulla Fatullajev has been in prison for several years on charges of inciting terrorism with his stories. Amnesty International says that the journalist is still being held. It is not known whether Minister Hirsch Ballin will discuss this issue during his stay in Azerbaijan.
The minister did visit a prison in Baku and said that major progress has been realised in this field. A new prison has been built which fully complies with the standards of the Council of Europe. The Council stands for greater European unity, with a strong emphasis on democracy, the constitutional state and human rights.
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