ESI's Gerald Knaus was invited to speak at an event on shrinking or lost spaces for the opposition in Azerbaijan organised by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung.
Political activities of the opposition, critical journalism and independent activism have no space in Azerbaijan. Many human rights defenders are arrested and their activities and funding options are lacking a legal basis.
Azerbaijan's government continues to wage a vicious crackdown on critics and dissenting voices. The release of some wrongly-imprisoned human rights defenders, activists, and journalists in 2016 did not lead to a shift in the government’s punitive attitude towards independent activists and groups. According to Human Rights Watch Azerbaijani’s international partners have failed to demand human rights improvements, in contrast their financial funding of the Azerbaijani’s government, including the extractive industries, would increase, regardless of the precarious situation on human rights.
Moderation: Walter Kaufmann, head of Eastern and Southeastern Division of Heinrich Boell Foundation.