Freedom House Welcomes Azerbaijan Democracy Act
Freedom House issued the following statement in support of H.R.4264, the Azerbaijan Democracy Act of 2015:
“The Azerbaijan Democracy Act is a much-needed tool to hold the government of Azerbaijan accountable for its ongoing and egregious human rights abuses,” said Daniel Calingaert, executive vice president. “Azerbaijan’s leaders continue to suppress, harass, and physically attack civil society, independent media, and political and religious activists. The government of Azerbaijan should immediately release the more than 80 political prisoners jailed for their activism and criticism of the government and drop all charges against them."
The Azerbaijan Democracy Act was introduced by Rep. Chris Smith on December 16, 2015. It would deny U.S. visas for senior Azerbaijani officials, their immediate family members, other officials directly involved in human rights abuses, and individuals financially benefitting from human rights violations.
Azerbaijan is rated Not Free in Freedom of the World 2015 and Freedom of the Press 2015, Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2015, and receives a democracy score of 6.75 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2015.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.