“Dear Madam Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to bring to your attention to two very important topics which are core values of the Council of Europe. First, the issue of minority and human rights. As you might already have heard a well known Talish activist Fahraddin Aboszoda who is imprisoned in Azerbaijan for his activities, few days ago announced a hunger strike as a sign of the protest against tortures and psychological pressure. Talish people are one of the native minority nations in Azerbaijan and I think we can’t stay indifferent to this case and should keep an eye and take requested measures to prevent abuses towards national minorities in CoE member countries. This is also a serious matter of human rights issue!
The second important issue I would like to tackle is already the repeated cases of hatred in sport. Unfortunately, last time we tried to show that the obvious discriminated attitude in Azerbaijan towards Armenian football player Henrikh Mkhitaryan and his fans is a quite vivid example of hatred in sport which is unacceptable in the CoE, but the CoE Secretariat decided to address the topic only by a written declaration.
As a result, we got another case of hatred when Armenian chess champion Maria Gevorgyan at the behest of the Azerbaijani delegation was removed from Tournament in Turkey. In accordance with the explanation of the Turkish organizer they had to withdraw the invitation because Azerbaijani chess players had asserted that if there were an Armenian in the tournament, they would refuse to participate.
I am more than convinced that despite of conflicts, disagreements and arguments the CoE member states can have, the sport is one of those special areas where discrimination has no place, where these kinds of cases should be voiced and prevented immediately. Let’s not close our eyes and take requested actions to exclude the abuses and hatred in sport.’’