• Azerbaijan hosted the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, casting an international spotlight on the government’s deteriorating human rights record. The atmosphere for political activists and independent and pro-opposition journalists grew acutely hostile. Authorities used imprisonment as a tool for political retribution and forcibly dispersed a number of peaceful demonstrations, indiscriminately arresting activists and passersby. Restrictions on freedom of religion and the prosecution of unregistered religious groups continued. The government intensified its urban renewal campaign in the capital Baku, forcibly evicting thousands of families and illegally demolishing homes.

Reports

Azerbaijan

  • Mar 18, 2015
  • Mar 5, 2015

    In the face of massive human rights abuses, the Human Rights Council has a responsibility to be part of the solution. It needs to resist the temptation to retreat into political and regional factionalism, to undermine the independence of your Office, High Commissioner, invoke selectivity to deflect attention from situations demanding international attention, or engage in procedural tactics to silence debate.

  • Mar 4, 2015
    The Azerbaijani government should immediately release all wrongly detained activists and journalists, with only 100 days remaining before the first European Games begin. A new photo essay highlights the plight of 12 people serving or facing long prison terms in Azerbaijan, apparently in retaliation for criticizing government policies.
  • Feb 25, 2015
    All Olympic host countries should ensure protection of human rights, including labor and free media protections, and implement anti-corruption measures in the lead-up to and during Olympic Games, the new Sport and Rights Alliance (SRA) said today ahead of a key meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week.
  • Feb 23, 2015
    The European Union special representative for human rights should use his visit to Azerbaijan beginning February 23, 2015, to insist that the authorities release dozens of activists and journalists imprisoned on politically motivated charges, Human Rights Watch, International Partnership for Human Rights, and Front Line Defenders said today.
  • Feb 17, 2015
  • Jan 30, 2015
  • Jan 29, 2015
    The Azerbaijani government escalated its repression against its critics in 2014, with a dramatic deterioration in its already poor rights record, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2015.
  • Jan 20, 2015
    Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel should urge president Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan to free leading human rights defenders, journalists, and other government critics jailed unjustly in Azerbaijan. Merkel is scheduled to meet Aliyev in Berlin on January 21, 2015, to discuss bilateral relations, energy policy, and other issues.
  • Dec 5, 2014
    The arrest of Khadija Ismayilova, Azerbaijan’s leading investigative journalist and ardent government critic, is a devastating blow to critical voices in Azerbaijan.