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On 18 March a photo exhibition “Support to Human Rights Defenders in Azerbaijan” launched in Khatai Arts Center was shut down 30 minutes after opening. Manager of the Center, Ms. Nazakat, demanded to remove the pictures claiming that the center management was unaware of their content. However Shahla Ismayilova, chairman of Women’s Association for Rational Development, said they had informed the Center management in advance that the exhibition would be dedicated to human rights.
Ismayilova also noted that Women’s Association, which is a partner organization of Azerbaijan Human Rights House, had faced problems while renting the venue and publishing the photos for the exhibition. “We were denied venue everywhere. They required that we get permission from Presidential Administration. The fact that the exhibition dedicated to the purpose of defending human rights defenders in Azerbaijan was closed down shortly after its launch proves what was said above” said Ismayilova.
Note that more than 100 photos chosen from among 1,000 entries had to be displayed at yesterday’s exhibition. The photos were submitted by photo reporters of different mass media outlets and shed light on difficult struggle for human rights and freedoms in Azerbaijan.
The exhibition was meant to support human rights defenders in their hard work and was organized with support of Norwegian Foreign Ministry, European Commission and Human Rights House.