Changes to the leadership and rules surrounding Azerbaijan’s Bar Association have left a number of prominent human rights lawyers unable to practice their trade. Independent journalists and opposition politicians say they are being left defenceless against political prosecutions, with one prominent human rights defender claiming just six lawyers now represent 150 political prisoners.
Nearly five years after the Azerbaijani government began a renewed crackdown on dissenting voices, the environment remains hostile for opposition parties. The authorities create the semblance of a multi-party system by financing political parties whose role is to function as the opposition while maintaining the status quo. Some fear that suppressing genuine opposition and excluding it from the political arena will lead to more radical forms of activism, which could ultimately be damaging for the state.
Elderly people in Azerbaijan are often seen working well beyond the age of retirement, often in hard physical jobs. The government has tried to celebrate this, claiming that no one wants to retire in Azerbaijan, but others point out that low state pensions give many no other choice. [Read more…]
Azerbaijan is holding snap presidential elections on 11 April under a new constitution. Despite the opposition candidates not barred from or boycotting the race trying to present themselves as independent or oppositional, there is little doubt Ilham Aliyev will be reelected to a now extended term of seven more years.
Azərbaycanda müstəqilliyin ilk illərində rəsmi senzura olmasına baxmayaraq, jurnalistlər indi olduğundan daha azad idilər. Ölkənin Kütləvi İnformasiya Vasitələrinə oliqarx-məmurların nəzarəti, təqiblər və hətta ölüm qorxusu onu deməyə əsas verir ki, bir çox jurnalist özünüsenzura etməyə məcburdur.
Despite official censorship in the early days of Azerbaijan’s independence, journalists enjoyed more freedom then than they do now. Oligarchic control over the country’s media and fear of prosecution, or even death, mean many journalists now resort to self-censorship.