New police units are to be created in Baku with the aim of fighting ‘cases contradictory to public morality’, especially sex-work. Critics say that this may be a cover for further state interference with independent social and political life.
In a country in need of far more profound reforms, cosmetic changes simply won’t do. The Azerbaijani government must address the underlying issues instead of buying time with occasional raises and lip-service amnesties.
Over the past six years, Azerbaijan’s civil society has deteriorated on all fronts. As the government continues to interfere with the activities of NGOs, prosecuting human rights defenders and political activists alike, banning them from travelling abroad, and freezing their bank accounts, the sector has become paralysed.
Georgia’s Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani has accused three leading Georgian transparency groups of lying over accusations the government may be planning to rig 28 November’s presidential run-off election. [Read more…]
The European Parliament, the EU’s elected representatives, have made clear they will not ratify a deal with Azerbaijan unless it improves it’s human rights record. The European Commission should now follow through with a clear message — Azerbaijan’s crackdown on dissent must end and political prisoners freed.
Georgia’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, has ruled that it is unconstitutional to criminally prosecute people for consuming cannabis, effectively decriminalising its use. This is short of decriminalising the purchase, storage, or sale of cannabis, and is not legalisation. [Read more…]
Georgia, a country where every third prisoner is serving time for drugs, may be about to transform its strict drug policy into a far more liberal system. Activists and reformers are hoping that new legislation could change Georgia’s system away from what they call ‘the war against the people’. [Read more…]
A group of activists, writers, and students in Abkhazia are facing public criticism for participating in joint projects with Tbilisi-based peacebuilding organisations. The backlash came after an anonymous Facebook profile published personal details of participants of a peacebuilding project [Read more…]