Freedom House explains why Nagorno-Karabakh shown as “Armenia/Azerbaijan” territory in Map of Freedom in World Interview of Azeri Press Agency with Chris Walker, the director of studies at the Freedom House
– Mr. Walker, in the Freedom of the World Map 2009, prepared by the Freedom House, among many disputed areas only Nagorno-Karabakh has been shown as “Armenia/Azerbaijan” territory. Why are all other disputed areas like Abkhazia and South Ossetia (shown as part of Georgia), Kosovo (shown as part of Serbia), Transdniestria (shown as part of Moldova) have been shown in their internationally recognized jurisdiction except Nagorno-Karabakh of Azerbaijan?
– The description of the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh has not changed this year. Unlike other disputed territories that are included in Freedom in the World – such as Kosovo or Transdniestria – the case of the dispute in Nagorno-Karabakh is, as a practical matter, one between two countries: Azerbaijan and Armenia. We are clear in our reports to note that no country or international organization has recognized Nagorno-Karabakh’s self-proclaimed independence. Armenia’s inclusion in the disputed territory designation reflects the de facto reality that separatists backed by Armenia currently control the territory.
– The fact that NK has been shown as part of Armenia and Azerbaijan says that you don’t recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan? Because, in all other disputed areas you don’t hesitate to indicate the territorial integrity of the country.
– As I have noted above, in our reports we are clear to note that no country or international organization has recognized Nagorno-Karabakh’s self-proclaimed independence. The disputed territory designation reflects the de facto reality in Nagorno-Karabakh that ethnic Armenian separatists backed by Armenia currently control the territory.
– Nevertheless, when you introduce “Nagorno-Karabakh” as “Armenia/Azerbaijan” territory you understand that consciously or not, you doubt the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
– We do not doubt the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Our reports are designed to evaluate the conditions on the ground within each of the countries and territories we review.
– In the Freedom of the World Map 2009, Azerbaijan is shown as “not free” country, Armenia as “partly free”. Among the criteria on which you define the countries’ status, the one “Is the head of government or other chief national authority elected through free and fair elections?” stands in the first place. How after 8 people were killed at the streets of Yerevan in March of 2008, when hundreds are still under arrest do you claim that Armenia is “partly free” country?
– Armenia received a sharp decline on its political rights score this year as a result of the political violence that occurred in 2008. Armenia’s political rights score fell from a 5 to a 6 this year. In fact, both Armenia and Azerbaijan now receive a score of 6 (where 7 is the worst possible score) on political rights in Freedom in the World. The electoral process section (in which the question “Is the head of government or other chief national authority elected through free and fair elections?” is a part) is one of a wide range of indicators that are used to conduct our review. Other indicators include political pluralism, functioning of government, freedom of expression, and rule of law. Armenia and Azerbaijan are actually quite close in the actual ranking. Overall, Azerbaijan performs slightly worse than Armenia. Both countries are extremely weak performers on political rights and civil liberties. /APA/