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January 20, 2017

CIVICUS: #WhyWeMarch

On Saturday, 21 January 2017, millions will gather in Washington D.C. and in hundreds of other cities around the world to take part in…
January 19, 2017

CIVICUS urges release of Cameroonian activists

Global civil society alliance CIVICUS urges the release of recently arrested leaders of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC) and all activists and…
January 19, 2017

Shock and sadness spurs anti-Trump protestors

in News

Ahead of the inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the United States of America, activists and civil society are mobilising protests against the…
January 18, 2017

70 civil society groups call on Ecuadorian President to end persecution of civil society and…

Click here to read a Spanish language version of this release Seventy Latin American and international civil society organisations have endorsed a letter urging…
January 18, 2017

Syrian civil society not being heard by international donors

in News

CIVICUS asked Nibal Salloum, program manager at the Syrian peace-building organisation Nuon, about the situation for civil society in Syria and the challenges faced…
January 17, 2017

The Gambia: Time to respect the will of Gambians

Global civil society alliance CIVICUS urges Gambian President Yahya Jammeh to respect constitutional norms and the will of the Gambian people. As the 19 January…


Importance of protest in a Trump United States

By Elizabeth Stephens  In a speech shortly after the November election, President Barack Obama urged anti-Trump protesters not to be silent. Yet, the number and attendance of events meant to challenge the values embodied by a…

Under threat: five countries in which civic space is rapidly closing

By Danny Sriskandarajah The closing of civic space is not just about people’s right to organize or protest in individual countries. This year’s Gobal Risks Report, published last week by the World Economic Forum ahead of…

Why Trump, Brexit and populism could be an opportunity

By Danny Sriskandarajah Many of the business and political leaders gathering in Davos this week will be focused on how to protect the global economic order - and their interests - after a year of major…

The death of Baek Nam-gi: tragic local story connects to troubling global trend

By Gayoon Baek On the 25th of September 2016, a 70-year old farmer died in South Korea of a brain haemorrhage after 317 days unconscious. Since then, people have held candlelight vigils and a daily mass…

Monitoring, first step to halt shrinking civic space

By Bihter Moschini In 2015, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Tunisian civil society. At the close of last year, one of the nominees for the same prize was another civic group, the Syrian White…

Natural resource activists are paying a heavy price

By Danny Sriskandarajah and Elisa Peter  Today, natural resource campaigners are facing increasingly virulent push-back from political leaders and powerful corporations intent on defending vested interests. From dam construction on the Honduran Gualcarque River, to gold…

"The Azeri government has a long record of persecuting dissidents, civil society activists and journalists," says Liela Alieva, President of CNIS. "We fear that vocal activists who campaigned against the holding of the Eurovision contest in the country will now be targeted as the government intensifies repression in the run up to the 2013 presidential elections."

Preceding the Eurovision Song Contest, CIVICUS observed an increase in politically motivated and arbitrary detentions of civil society activists. On 20 April 2012, blogger and human rights defender Taleh Khasmammadov was sentenced to four years in prison on charges of "hooliganism," "disorderly conduct" and "resisting authorities." The real reason was to prevent him publishing reports on connections between the police and criminal gangs. Oktay Gulaliyev, coordinator of CSO Kura, has been on pre-trial custody since April 2012 on allegations of inciting unrest, violence and resisting orders from the government.

On 25 May government security officials arrested, detained and later released Ali Kerimli, Coordinator of Council of the Public Chamber and leader of opposition party the Popular Front, together with over 70 civil society members, for participating in the peaceful 'Public Walk' campaign in Baku. The demonstration, which attracted hundreds of civil society activists, marked the third time during the week-long contest that security forces used excessive force to disperse peaceful protesters.

"The violent dispersal of demonstrators that happened during the Eurovision Song Contest formed but one part of the Azeri government's ongoing campaign to silence civil society and independent dissent in Azerbaijan," says Mandeep Tiwana, Policy and Advocacy Manager at CIVICUS. "Now that the spotlight has shifted, the international community must not look the other way. They must draw attention to human rights violations and engage the government on its failure to uphold its human rights obligations."

CIVICUS and CNIS urge the Azeri government to desist from further harassment and intimidation of civil society activists involved in the Sing for Democracy Campaign, to release all prisoners of conscience and ensure that the exercise of rights of freedom of assembly, expression and association are respected ahead of the 2013 elections.




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