How does Azerbaijan look in the eyes of international organizations?

Photo: Ulvia Ali.

First in the corruption index, last in terms of freedom of the press, and democracy…

How does Azerbaijan look in the eyes of international organizations?

A special delegation from the Committee Against Torture (CPT) of the Council of Europe conducted a crucial investigation into Azerbaijan’s compliance with recommendations made after their 2020 visit. The primary focus was to evaluate the treatment of detainees by law enforcement, specifically examining allegations of torture and ill-treatment.

Published findings underscored alarming issues within Azerbaijan’s justice system, highlighting a lack of progress in addressing torture allegations. Responsible individuals for such actions were reported to remain unpunished, indicative of systemic flaws in the investigation process.

The international call for the release of political prisoners gained momentum when the Biden administration emphasized the urgent need for the immediate and unconditional release of individuals like Elchin Mammad, an Azerbaijani detainee.

However, despite sporadic releases, the human rights landscape in Azerbaijan showed little improvement. Reports from reputable organizations like Human Rights Watch continued to outline concerns about arbitrary detentions and the suppression of critical voices, indicating persistent challenges to freedom of expression and association.

Azerbaijan’s dismal performance on global indices further reflected the gravity of its situation. Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index placed the country among the lowest, while its ranking in the democracy index labeled it as under “authoritarian” management. These rankings, alongside restrictions on media freedoms, drew sharp criticism from various international bodies.

The implementation of a new media law in Azerbaijan triggered an outcry from Reporters Without Borders, highlighting increased control over the media sector, which further stifled journalistic freedom. The country’s declining press freedom was accentuated in global press freedom rankings, where Azerbaijan found itself among the lowest performers.

The Council of Europe’s resolutions urged reforms to enhance legal proceedings and administrative processes, highlighting persistent challenges in Azerbaijan’s legal system. However, the slow progress in implementing these resolutions continued to raise concerns about the rule of law and fair trials in the country.

Moreover, human rights organizations like Amnesty International underscored the lack of significant advancements in investigations of war crimes and continued discrimination against women in Azerbaijan.

Official rebuttals from Azerbaijani authorities disputed these claims, asserting the presence of democratic freedoms and dismissing the reports as baseless and provocative, a stance that contradicts the evidence presented by numerous international entities.

As global scrutiny intensifies, the persistent discrepancy between official narratives and international assessments underscores the need for tangible reforms to uphold fundamental freedoms and justice within the country.

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