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.
- ESI newsletter: Formula One and human rights – Vaclav and Rasul – Iwinski and the Garden Party (23 April 2015)
- ESI news: Strasbourg – ESI advocacy on Azerbaijan at the Council of Europe (21 April 2015)
- Open Letter Regarding the Human Rights Situation in Azerbaijan (13 April 2015)
- ESI newsletter: The mercy of Commodus – The failure of Jagland (14 November 2014)
- Video: Oslo – The dream of a Europe without political prisoners and the grim reality of Azerbaijan (12 November 2014)
- ESI newsletter: Moscow Appeal – The case for Leyla Yunus (2 October 2014)
- ESI Azerbaijan website