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The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) and Institute for Peace and Democracy cordially invite you to attend a background briefing on the human rights situation in Azerbaijan ahead of the 5th Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit.
The briefing will be held at the Brussels Press Club at Rue Froissart 95, 1040 Brussels, at 12:00 pm on Wednesday, 22 November 2017.
Emin Huseynov, Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety
Leyla Yunus, Institute for Peace and Democracy
Human rights defenders from Azerbaijan (by skype)
Background: The 5th Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit will take place in Brussels on 24 November. Heads of state or government from the EU member states and the six Eastern partner countries will take part in the summit. Among them, there will be Azerbaijan’s autocratic president, Ilham Aliyev, who has been in the centre of the recently revealed #Laundromat scheme to pay lobbyists, apologists and European politicians and to launder cash.
The human rights situation has dramatically deteriorated in Azerbaijan, causing damage to its relations with the European Union, Council of Europe and other bilateral and multilateral partners, and has damaged its own society by incarcerating, torturing, harassing or exiling independent civil society and media. In February, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev appointed his wife Mehriban to serve as first vice-president, further tightening his grip on power in the increasingly authoritarian country.
Leyla Yunus is the Director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD), an organisation promoting the rule of law and involved in conflict resolution and peace-building. The human rights defender and her organisation have faced judicial harassment and intimidation in the past. She spent 16 months in an Azerbaijani prison on fabricated charges until December 2015 when she was released on five years’ parole as a result of sustained international pressure. Leyla Yunus was awarded the Theodor Haecker Prize in 2013 in recognition of her work in combatting corruption and promoting human rights and the rule of law.
Emin Huseynov is an Azerbaijani journalist, human rights activist, and founding director of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety, the leading media rights organisation in Azerbaijan. Huseynov was forced into hiding inAugust 2014, amidst widespread repression of journalists and human rights activists, and was sheltered in the Swiss embassy in Baku until 12 June 2015, when he was finally allowed out of the country, but stripped of his Azerbaijani citizenship. Huseynov remains in Switzerland as a stateless person.