12 May 2015
Brussels – ESI sponsors European Parliament event on Azerbaijan
Baku Games – Run for Human Rights
Baku Games – Run for Human Rights

ESI was among the NGOs that sponsored an European Parliament event on Azerbaijan in the run-up to the European Games in Baku in June 2015. The event was called "Baku Games – Run for Human Rights". Hosted and chaired by MEP Ulrike Lunacek (Greens), it drew attention to political repression in the country. The Azerbaijani regime has imprisoned 80 human rights defenders and dissidents, and strangled civil society through very restrictive legislation.

All the speakers agreed that the Baku Games were an opportunity to call the attention of Europe's publics and decision-makers to the human rights violations in the country and demand from the decision-makers that they use their influence to effect the release of the political prisoners.

A cross-party group of MEPs will present a new resolution on Azerbaijan, following up on the European Parliament's resolution of 18 September 2014. The group comprises Ulrike Lunacek, Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein (EPP), Kati Piri (S&D), Mark Demesmaeker (ECR), Marietje Schaake (ALDE) and Ignazio Corrao (EFDD). All of them spoke at the event.

The other speakers were: Dinara Yunus, the daughter of imprisoned human rights defenders Leyla and Arif Yunus; Giorgi Gogia, Senior South Caucasus Researcher of Human Rights Watch; Rebecca Vincent, representing the campaign "Sports for Human Rights"; Sylvia Schenk, Chair of the Working Group Sport of Transparency International Germany; Gerald Staberock, Secretary General of the World Organisation against Torture; and Maran Turner, the Executive Director of Freedom Now.

Baku Games – Run for Human Rights
Baku Games – Run for Human Rights
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Photo credits
Alan Grant is an Irish photographer who travelled extensively in the Balkans and other countries and regions of the world. Thanks to him, ESI is able to show fascinating pictures of the Balkans: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water - dark in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus.

You can find out more about Alan Grant on his websites:
Jonathan Lewis lives between London and Istanbul. He moved to London and spent many years studying photography and now specialises in photojournalism, documentary photography and commercial work for a wide variety of private and commercial clients in the UK, Europe and Turkey. His work has appeared in a number of magazines and publications and is used on the ESI website as well.

You can find out more about Jonathan Lewis on his website www.jonathanlewisphoto.com