In recent years the Caucasian republic of Azerbaijan, independent since 1991, has experienced rapid economic change. While oil and gas revenues are skyrocketing, the regime of Ilham Aliyev consolidated its authoritarian grip on Azeri society. Opposition activists are arrested and put to trial on trumped up charges. Once again – as in the time of Vaclav Havel and Adam Michnik – there are political prisoners and dissidents in Europe. Even though Azerbaijan has been a member of the Council of Europe since 2001 and ratified the European Convention on Human Rights, it tries to silence all criticism, also in the Council of Europe, through its "caviar diplomacy" (see ESI report: Caviar Diplomacy. How Azerbaijan silenced the Council of Europe, 2012).
At a "parliamentary evening" at the German Bundestag in Berlin, ESI's Gerald Knaus and Emin Milli, a blogger and dissident from Azerbaijan, discussed what can be done to defend the values of the Council of Europe.
- ESI paper: A Portrait of Deception. Monitoring Azerbaijan or why Pedro Agramunt should resign (22 January 2013)
- ESI report: Caviar Diplomacy. How Azerbaijan silenced the Council of Europe (24 May 2012)
- ESI Facebook picture story: Ilham the Magician and the Council of Europe – Or: how (not) to make the problem of political prisoners disappear. A Fable in 35 Acts that can be read in 5 minutes! (1 October 2012)
- ESI report: Generation Facebook in Baku – Adnan, Emin and the Future of Dissent in Azerbaijan (15 March 2011)
- ESI Azerbaijan website section