Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan remains an authoritarian country, with civil and political rights severely restricted and violated. The political power is completely concentrated in the hands of the president Ilham Aliev and ruling party directly affiliated with him. Grave human rights problems include unfair justice, frequent cases of arbitrary arrests, detentions, torture, ill-treatment in prisons, obstruction of civil society organizations work, discrimination against sexual and racial minorities and persons with disabilities.

Read about the current human rights situation in our country report Human rights in Azerbaijan

Meydan TV Director Emin Milli Threatened for Critical Reporting on European Games

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Civil Rights Defenders together with several other civil society organisations who are members of “Sport for Rights” has issued a statement calling on the Azerbaijani authorities to put an end to their ongoing attempts to silence critical reporting. The statement follows after Meydan TV Director Emin Milli reported that he had received a threat from the Azerbaijani Minister of Youth and Sport, Azad Rahimov, in connection with his critical reporting on the European Games.

Azerbaijan : The Repressive Side of the European Olympic Games.

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Azerbaijan’s human rights record will once again be in the spotlight on the 16th June 2015 when Civil Rights Defenders will co-sponsor an event at the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council. Entitled Azerbaijan: The Repressive Side of the European Olympic Games and organised by Human Rights House Network, International Media Support and People in Need, the event will shine a light on the severe restrictions on fundamental freedoms and the imprisonment of civil society.

Human Rights in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is an authoritarian country, with civil and political rights severely restricted and violated. The political power is completely concentrated in the hands of the president Ilham Aliyev and ruling party directly affiliated with him. The human rights record, poor to begin with, has been on a slide in the last two years and became especially apparent with Azerbaijan in international spotlight for hosting 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. Most notable are violations of freedom of expression, assembly, and association.

Authorities Must Drop Charges Against Prominent Journalist in Azerbaijan

Emin

In August 2014, Emin Huseynov, Director of the Azerbaijani Institute for Reporter’s Freedom and Safety (IRFS), was forced into hiding in order to protect himself from Government repression. At the time Emin Huseynov was accused of tax evasion, illegal business and abuse of power, charges that Civil Rights Defenders and other international human rights organisations consider politically motivated.

Organisations call on international solidarity with the newspaper Azadliq

On 17 October, just a week after the presidential election, the sale of several daily newspapers including the newspaper Azadliq was banned in metro stations in Baku. Azadliq is one of few remaining opposition news outlets in Azerbaijan. “We urge the country’s judicial and political authorities to stop hounding it and we call on international solidarity with the daily”, said Civil Rights Defenders and several other organisations in a joint statement.

Election will not be credible unless people can criticise the government

Photo: Aziz Elkhanoglu, Art for Democracy

In a joint call issued on the eve of the Presidential election, 22 human rights organisations and press freedom campaigners warn that the failure of the government of Azerbaijan to respect human rights, including freedom of expression, undermines the democratic legitimacy of the government. Azerbaijan should take immediate action to ensure fundamental rights are protected ahead of the election.

Harassment of investigative journalist must be effectively investigated

Khadija Ismayilova (humanrightshouse.org)

In a letter to Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and the Prosecutor General Zakir Garalov, several human rights organisations, including Civil Rights Defenders, express their profound concern regarding the harassment and intimidation of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova. The organisations urge the president to ensure an effective investigation into the threats against her.

No sweet songs for human rights defenders

Vugar Goyajev

A year ago Swedish TV viewers’ attention was directed towards Azerbaijan; and wile the Eurovision Song Contest was held in Baku, the regime’s human rights violations continued in the backyard. Today, the lights have gone out but the repression of civil society has reached new lows. On 14 May, Civil Rights Defenders will release a report on the situation of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan. Listen to Vugar Goyajev’s presentation of the findings of the report.