South Caucasus

Photo credit: Narek Alexanyan

IPHR is working with partners to raise international awareness and mobilize support against the ongoing civil society crackdown in Azerbaijan, as well as to support its victims and their families. IPHR is also working with partners to document and draw attention to other current human rights trends of concern in this region.

Since 2014 Azerbaijan’s government has carried out an unprecedented crackdown on civil society. New restrictive legislation has been adopted, and NGOs have systematically been subjected to smear campaigns, office raids, freezing of their accounts and other forms of pressure. Dozens of human rights defenders, journalists and other outspoken individuals have been arrested and convicted on politically motivated charges. The trials in these cases have been characterized by serious fair trial and due process violations. Other activists have been forced to leave the country or go into hiding.

In Armenia, the use of forceful tactics against peaceful protestors and journalists by police in June 2015 was an alarming development. Alleged human rights violations related to these events should be impartially investigated and prosecuted. There are also fears that NGOs may be subjected to growing restrictions similarly to elsewhere in the region of the former Soviet Union. Torture and ill-treatment in police institutions and closed institutions and media restrictions are other major concerns in this country.

While Georgia has advanced more on its democratic transition than the other South Caucasus countries, the human rights situation in this country also warrants attention. Among the issues of concern are selective justice related to the investigations into past abuses by former government officials, as well as continued gaps in the protection of minorities, despite the adoption of a progressive anti-discrimination law in 2014.

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