The Azerbaijani government escalated repression against its critics, marking a dramatic deterioration in its already poor rights record, states Human Rights Watch World Report 2015.
Dramatic Deterioration in Azerbaijani rights record: Human Rights Watch
STEPANAKERT, JANUARY 29, ARTSAKHPRESS: According to the report, the authorities of Azerbaijan convicted or imprisoned at least 33 human rights defenders, political and civil activists, journalists, and bloggers on politically motivated charges, prompting others to flee the country or go into hiding.
“Authorities froze the bank accounts of independent civic groups and their leaders, impeded their work by refusing to register foreign grants, and imposed foreign travel bans on some,” Human Rights Watch stressed. Many of those detained in Azerbaijan complained of ill-treatment in police custody. Also, many organizations, including several leading rights groups, were forced to cease activities.
“The crackdown continued even as Azerbaijan in May took over the six-month rotating chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Europe’s foremost human rights body,” stated the report. While criticizing the increasing crackdown on civil society groups, Azerbaijan’s international partners failed to make full use of their relationships with the government to secure rights improvements.