Freedom House: in Azerbaijan is consolidated authoritarian regime

The human rights organization Freedom House has published the traditional annual report on the state of freedom in the world. Among the countries of the former Soviet Union, Azerbaijan was one of the most authoritarian regimes after Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. " The authoritarian regime in  Azerbaijan is characterized by intolerance of dissent and disregards civil liberties and political rights," reads  the  statement.

Tougher regime began after Heydar Aliyev came to power in 1993. After the transfer of power to Ilham Aliyev, in 2003, the repression in the country sharply tightened.

Authorities are trying to present the country as a modern, secular state with a Muslim majority, which is an island of stability in a dangerous area.

 The government uses repressive legislation and the judicial system to subordinate punish criticism, to take full control of the media, and to ensure the rule of official propaganda.  The government has destroyed all other political forces and the opposition parties, leaving the arena free for the ruling party "Yeni Azerbaijan".  The latest wave of repression of the authorities under the pretext of protecting the stability began in 2009, peaking in 2014.

 During the year, human rights activists, journalists and other critics of the regime were subjected to criminal charges, and physical and financial persecution. Numerous NGOs and their bank accounts were frozen, and many were forced to shut down or leave. Youth organizations and related bloggers have become the main targets of the authorities. 

Several strategic partners of Azerbaijan expressed concern about the increased pressure on civil society, but the regime firmly rejects any criticism for human rights violations. In late 2014, the head of the administration of President Aliyev publicly accused the US of conspiring with NGOs in order to overthrow the government, said in a summary of the report.   This multi-page document provides an analysis of how the situation has changed in several aspects of political and social life of the country over the past 10 years: the electoral process; civil society; the independent media; national-democratic governance; local government; the independence of the judiciary; corruption, the state of democracy.  Serious deterioration is fixed on all these issues. -02D-

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