xxx   days of unlawful imprisonment

The ASPS demands the immediate and unconditional release of Ilgar Mammadov, Director of the Baku School of Political Studies, who was wrongfully arrested by the Azerbaijani Authorities on 4 February 2013.

Sixth edition of the World Forum for Democracy

Strasbourg, 8-10 November 2017

This year’s World Forum for Democracy asked “Is Populism a Problem?” and focused on the role of political parties and media in the context of rising populism in Europe and beyond. How can pluralism, freedom of expression, and fair and evidence-based public debate be safeguarded in these new conditions? How can we foster a political culture which embraces a more long-term perspective? Are there social structures that can replace political parties in building social capital and providing frameworks for grassroots political debate participation and decision-making?

The objective of the World Forum for Democracy 2017 was to review novel initiatives and approaches which can enhance democratic practices and help parties and media, but also other political actors, to re-connect to citizens, make informed choices and function optimally in a 21st century democracy.

Over the course of three days, over 500 participants from the Schools of Political Studies, along with other young leaders from around the world had the chance to discuss these questions through a series of panel discussions, debates, labs, lightening talks, and plenary sessions in the hemicycle of the Council of Europe.

A series of additional events were offered to participants of the Schools of Political Studies cycles, including visits to the European Court of Human Rights, meetings with the national Permanent Representations, Networking Lunches and bilateral or thematic meetings between Schools. The special programme of additional events for Schools' participants can be found here.

Highlights and photos from the 2017 Forum

"Free Ilgar Mammadov now" say Schools of Political Studies heads

The Association of Schools of Political Studies of the Council of Europe (ASPS) calls for the immediate release of Ilgar Mammadov, Director of the Baku School of Political Studies, who has been wrongfully imprisoned on politically motivated charges.

The charges brought against Mr. Mammadov, one of Azerbaijan’s leading advocates for genuine democracy, are clearly politically motivated and aimed at silencing him through judicial harassment.

The Association, which brings together the leaders of 21 Schools in Europe and North Africa, called on Azerbaijan to respect its commitments to the Council of Europe and implement the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, which found that the arrest and detention of their Azeri colleague in 2013 breached the European Convention on Human Rights.

Failure to act decisively on the Mammadov case and similar human rights violations by authoritarian regimes in Azerbaijan and other Council of Europe states is undermining the European project, bringing European institutions into disrepute and fuelling euro-scepticism.

A full list of statements and reactions to Ilgar Mammadov’s imprisonment can be found here