Summary of Human Rights and Political Developments in Azerbaijan (December 21-30)

The final week of the year was marked by a series of dramatic developments in Azerbaijan. In particular, the Azerbaijani Manat lost half its value on December 21, after the country’s Central Bank scrapped the currency's dollar peg amid sharp declines in the price of oil. While the previous devaluation in February had caused an outcry among opposition parties and independent experts, this time the general public rushed to express their discontent.          “This is such a disaster for us,” said one Baku resident...

Fury in Baku over Azerbaijan Democracy Act

On December 16, the chairman of the US Helsinki Commission, Chris Smith introduced the Azerbaijan Democracy Act to Promote Rule of Law, Human Rights), HR 4264, a landmark bill that will deny US visas to senior members of the Azerbaijani government for human rights violations. The spokesman of Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hikmat Hajiyev, has provided an official comment on the bill. “The Azerbaijan Democracy Act bill is completely anti-Azerbaijani and unacceptable. The authors of this document intend to cast a shadow on the successful...
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