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February 16, 2017

Joint Letter to UN Human Rights Council: More attention needed on human rights violations in…

in News

To: Permanent Representatives of Member and Observer States of the UN Human Rights Council RE: Sustaining attention to human rights violations in China Excellency,…
February 13, 2017

Gambian civil society optimistic as new democratic era dawns

in News

The Gambia has recently gone through a major democratic transition. CIVICUS interviews Sohna Sallah, the Vice President of the Democratic Union of Gambian Activists…
February 10, 2017

Turkmenistan’s elections under cloud as civil society faces total clampdown

Global civil society alliance CIVICUS, the International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) and the Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights (TIHR) today highlight a near…
February 08, 2017

State of civil society in Equatorial Guinea: An interview with CEID

in News

Spanish CIVICUS speaks to Alfredo Okenve, board member in charge of the International Cooperation and Good Governance Programmes of the Centre for Development Studies…
February 02, 2017

Zimbabwe: CIVICUS urges release of #ThisFlag Pastor Mawarire, detained and charged with “treason”

in News

Update: 08 February 2017A High Court judge granted Evan Mawarire bail of 300USD and ordered him to surrender his passport and report to Avondale…
January 24, 2017

Closed and repressed: No space for democracy to take root in Eritrea

CIVICUS interviews a human rights defender from Eritrea, who speaks about the nature of the government and its complete disregard for fundamental human rights.…


Don't lecture the Americans about our values. Demonstrate them.

By Danny Sriskandarajah and Julia Sanchez  There has never been a better time for Canada to show progressive leadership globally in support of inclusive and open societies that respect human rights. As the government prepares a…

Against all odds: Civil society under fire

By Danny Sriskandarajah Civil society is under fire—sometimes literally—in many countries and in all regions of the world. Governments are clamping down on fundamental civic freedoms. This year’s Global Risks Report highlights the threat to civic space,…

In a time of exclusion, making space for Faith Based Organizations

By Amjad Mohamed Saleem For many people around the world, faith is embedded in cultures, practices and communities. Earlier this month, World Interfaith Harmony week taught us that religious practices and perspectives continue to be sources…

Sustainable development for all ages

By Danny Sriskandarajah It’s a global phenomenon, already exerting a profound social and economic impact in both rich and poor countries. So why are so few development professionals talking about population aging? Our planet’s rapidly shifting…

Leave no person with disabilities behind

By Leave No One Behind Partneship and ADD International Pushpa Rani had pneumonia when she was eight years old, which left her extremely weak. Eventually, she lost all movement in her legs. Pushpa joined a women's self-help group,…

OGP must protect space for people power - before it is too late

By Cathal Gilbert  In some Open Government Partnership (OGP) member countries, the threats to peaceful dissent and activism are extremely grave. Examples include the assassinations of five social leaders in just one week in Colombia, the police’s…

Most recently on October 17, Azerbaijan’s National Assembly passed far reaching amendments to the laws governing the operations of civil society organizations (CSOs). The amendments, currently pending approval from President Aliyev will empower relevant government ministries to individually approve all international grants to national civil society organisations. Ministries are permitted to determine the appropriateness of the grant and can deny approval if the support is determined to contravene the interests of the state.

“Coupled with onerous reporting and registration requirements adopted earlier this year, the current amendments will make it virtually impossible for independent civil society groups to operate in the country,” said Tor Hodenfield, Policy and Advocacy Officer, at CIVICUS. “Over the past few years, Azerbaijan’s government has been progressively closing down space for civil society, arresting and detaining activists at will. As chair of the Council of Europe, Azerbaijan is undermining the civil liberties and democratic principles of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

Prior to its assumption of the chair of the Council of Europe in May this year, CIVICUS and CNIS had urged Azerbaijan’s government to release imprisoned activists. However, the situation has only deteriorated since then with a number of human rights defenders recently arrested or convicted for speaking out against government policies. They include activist, lawyer Intigam Aliyev of the Legal Education Society, Leyla Yunus, Director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD), and her husband, historian Arif Yunus, and Rasul Jafarov, chair of the civil society group Human Rights Club. Leyla Yunus and Rasul Jafarov were in the process of compiling a list of bloggers, activists, journalists, and opposition party members imprisoned in Azerbaijan.

CIVICUS and CNIS urge the members of the Council of Europe to urgently address violations of the European Convention on Human Rights with Azerbaijan’s government. Azerbaijan has an additional responsibility to uphold and promote Council of Europe values in its role as chair of the organisation.




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