Democracy for Azerbaijan

May 8th, 2012   Theme: Democracy for Azerbaijan

Welcome to this web site dedicated to information about Azerbaijan and the struggle for democracy.

Feel free to inform others about this page and please let us know if you have any suggestions in regards to further information.

In General about Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is to a large extent surrounded by mountains.

The CIA World Fact Book provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities – including Azerbaijan.

Read the articles

The British news agency BBC is publishing a country profile of Azerbaijan, including links to Azerbaijani media.

Read the presentation

The US Department of State publishes annual reports on the state of human rights in the world. Read the 2014 country report on Azerbaijan below.

Read the 2014 human rights report

The US Department of State and its Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs is publishing extensive background notes on Azerbaijan.

Read the notes

 

Economy and Politics

Milli Majlis is the Parliament in Baku.

You can read the World Bank’s latest statistics and estimations for Azerbaijan on its home page.

The link is 

The International Monetary Fund is also working in Azerbaijan:

Read a general IMF- text about Azerbaijan

In regards to the future of Azerbaijan the relations between the EU and Azerbaijan is certainly of interest. Today the EU supports Azerbaijan across a wide-range of sectors, including energy, agriculture and good governance.

Read about the cooperation between the  EU and Azerbaijan

In the east Azerbaijan is bordered to the Caspian Sea.

In addition read about EU:s Eastern Partnership

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has been organizing election observation missions to Azerbaijan. Read reports from elections in 2003, 2003, 2008 and 2010, 2013 and 2015.

Read about OCSE:s efforts in Azerbaijan

European Stability Initiatiative (ESI) has published reports on the regime in Azerbaijan and the human rights violations.

Read their reports here

Gunnar Hökmark, Member of European Parliament and chairman of the Policy Committee of Euronests Parliamentary Assembly, is concerned about the developments in Azerbaijan. Read about his visions and views in regards to Azerbaijan:

Read on Gunnar Hökmars blog about Azerbaijan

 

Amnesty International has since many years been reporting about violence and suppression of freedom of speech etc.  At the end of March 2012 the organization reported about three youth activists that had  been beaten in police custody. They were arrested while performing at a peaceful protest in the capital, Baku, after one of them swore about the President’s family.

 Freedom House depicts Azerbaijan as “not free”.

Read the Freedom Index 2011

Many have lost their lives in the conflicts in the region.

Freedom House is among other things keeping scores on political pressure from Azerbaijani authorities against individuals and families, saying that “politically motivated charges, underscores the growing use of financial and psychological pressure to silence dissidents”.

Read the article by Freedom House

Bloggers critical to the regime might have a hard time in today’s Azerbailjan.

Read the blog by Emin Milli 

Read the blogs by Ali Novruzov Blog 1 and  Blog 2 

 

Media

Conditions for journalists are hostile and arbitrary.

Conditions for journalists and regime critics in Azerbaijan are perceived as hostile and arbitrary. Detention and harassment occur. Therefore, self-censorship is often practiced in newspapers, radio and TV channels. The actual censorship was abolished at the end of the 1990s. Today the country is ranked number 152 out of 173 countries in Reporters without Border’s Freedom Index (2010-2011).

Read the Freedom Index

Azerbaijan can be found in spot no 172 out of 197 countries ranked in the Freedom House Press Freedom Index for 2012. Azerbaijan shares this position with Russia and Zimbabwe. Compared with 2011, the conditions and opportunities for journalists to work freely have deteriorated slightly. In 2011, Azerbaijan was found  in place no 171.

Read the Press Freedom Index by Freedom House (May 1, 2012)

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is reporting in 21 countries where “a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate”. The radio channel is funded by the US Congress. Radio Liberty is present in Azerbaijan and one of the main critics of the Aliyev regime.

Visit the home page of Radio Liberty in Azerbaijan

 

Acadliq Newspaper is a regime critical newspaper which is also translated into English.

Read the oppositional newspaper

The European Stability Initiative has published a report “Generation Facebook in Baku. Adnan, Emin and the Future of Dissent in Azerbaijan”. ESI claims that “so far European governments, the US and international organisations – particularly the Council of Europe, Europe’s oldest intergovernmental club of democracies – have failed to address the increasing repression in Azerbaijan …”. Though a young generation of Internet savvy Azerbaijanis has managed to rattle the regime. They, reports ESI, “believe in the right of democratic protest and freedom of speech – and that there are others who fear both”. Read the report:

Read the report about Facebook in Azerbaijan

A sign on the wall at Radio Liberty in Baku.

Azerbaijani journalist Xadija Ismayilova (interviewed in the JHS report) was threatened that intimate pictures of her and her boyfriend would be published if she did not stop her investigations. She did not follow this advice and a video was published on a mirror home page of the oppositional Musavat Party. Following these events the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan, among other, has issued a statement about the intimidation campaign against Azerbaijani Journalist Khadija Ismayilova.

Read the statement by the EU

One of the best reports on media freedom in Azerbaijan is by Human Rights Watch, titled Beaten, Blacklisted and Behind Bars: The Vanishing Space for Freedom of Expression in Azerbaijan (October 2010). Human Right Watch is reporting about human rights in general in Azerbaijan claiming that the atmosphere for journalists “is hostile, and government officials continue to initiate criminal and civil libel cases against journalists”. Adding that the government tightened restrictions on religious groups, and banned women from wearing head scarves in schools and universities, leading thousands to drop out. Read more at:

Read the report

Read what Human Right Watch writes about Azerbaijan  And see a film that the organization published in the spring of 2012.

 

The Conflict on Nagorno-Karabakh

Nagorno-Karabakh Territory is inside Azerbaijan, but population is mainly ethnic Armenian.

The dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh is rooted in history. On various grounds Azerbaijan and Armenia believe that they are entitled to the same area. Each year 20-30 people are killed on the line of contact between the two countries. (JHS Report). Hundreds of thousands are denied the right to return to their homes, regain their land and visit the graves of relative’s.

There are roughly 600,000 internally displaced persons (IDP’s) in Azerbaijan.  In a report the International Crisis Group with HQ in Brussels notes that ”after twenty years, one could assume that the main problems of displacement from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have been resolved, but this would be wrong”.

Read the report about IDP’s

EurasiaNet.org provides information and analysis about political, economic, environmental and social developments in Azerbaijan. The organization is based in New York and operated by the Central Eurasia Project of the Open Society Institute. Read for example about marriages at an early age,  a well as news in general and columns.

Read an overview by BBC about Nagorno-Karabakh

Read about what EurasiaNet.org writes about Azerbaijan 

 

Eurovision Song Contest

Many Azerians hope that visitors to Eurovision Song Contest will learn about all aspects of life in Azerbaijan.

Eurovision Song Contest was held in Baku at the end of May, 2012.

“Eurovision: Azerbaijan’s failure to promote itself” is the headline in a newsletter of the Center for Eastern Studies (May 30, 2012): “The symbolic demonstrations by the opposition were violently broken up by the authorities. These matters, rather than Azerbaijan’s success in organising the contest, attracted the greatest interest from the foreign media (including the New York Times, the Guardian, al-Jazeera, the AFP and the AP). The government was also severely criticised by the European Parliament in its resolution of 24 May.

Read the article

Visit the official home page of the Eurovision Song Contest

In connection with the Eurovision Song Contest News.az as well as the news agency APA has reported about president Aliyev’s comments in regards to reports abroad about Azerbaijan: “There are countries where dirty, defamatory articles about Azerbaijan are published week in and week out and even day in and day out. This is a coordinated policy, of course … Those who want to accuse us of anti-democratic steps, let’s look at what is happening in their countries. Every day protesters there are beaten, seriously injured and hundreds of demonstrators are arrested.”

Read about the other side of the coin

The Azeri newspaper Azadliq presents a story about how hundreds of people have been forced out of their homes to make way for a new concert hall being built in the capital Baku prior to the Eurovision Song Contest.

Read the text

The Economist is commenting the Eurovision Song Contest. The magazine is noting that some local activists want to highlight the country’s deteriorating human-right record:

Read the comment

Radio Liberty has sent up an independent web site to cover the Eurovision Song Contest

Visit Radio Liberty’s Eurovision Song Contest page

On May 8, 2012 BBC published an interview with journalist Idrak Abbasov from his hospital bed. Abbasov was filming protesters when he was attacked by guards working for a state-owned company. BBC writes that Azerbaijan “targets activists” as it prepares to host Eurovision”.

Read the interview 

 

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