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Petrodollars and the European Games in Baku

On the eve of the European Games in Baku, the international community has again intensified its criticism over the human rights violations and restrictions of freedoms in Azerbaijan. On March 4 Amnesty International issued a report on Azerbaijan entitled "Guilty of Defending Rights: Azerbaijan’s Human Rights Defenders and Activists Behind Bars." The article claims that Azerbaijan has intensified its repression towards the political opposition, activists and journalists critical of the government. In this context the examples of Khadija Ismayilova, decribed as an "outspoken government critic", Hilal Mammadov, Ilgar Mammadov, Tofig Yagublu and Yadigar Sadigov named as "prisoners of conscience" were brought. "The government has step-by-step silenced political opposition, critical voices and finally, those individuals and groups dedicated to defending the very human rights that the government appears determined to stamp out. The arrests of prominent human rights defenders for their professional activities has paralyzed civil society at home and seriously undermined its ability express concerns internationally and to call on the support of the international community and international organizations," – the reports says.  

The famous Guardian has also referred to the upcoming European Games in Baku. The article titled "Baku 2015: Amnesty warns of human rights violations with 100 days to go," besides commenting on the report prepared by Amnesty International brings the findings of the investigation done by Guardian on December, 2014 indicating that according to their findings "human rights activists and critical journalists had compiled a list of at least 98 individuals detained by the regime of the president, Ilham Aliyev, amid a worsening crackdown on freedom of expression and freedom of assembly."

Yes, 100 days are left till the European Games, on which Baku puts a great emphasis claiming that this is an indicator of power and wealth. Of course, Azerbaijani petrodollars in many cases close the eyes of the international community and "help" them be silent. However, there comes an instance when everything is so obvious that it becomes impossible to pass by and not make even a comment. Azerbaijan has already crossed its red line, but a relevant response has not come yet…


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