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It is an increasingly common occurrence for repressive countries with dismal human rights records to put themselves forward as hosts for major international forums—whether in the sphere of sports and entertainment or in politics.

Despite a May 2011 ruling prohibiting its destruction, a building in Baku, Azerbaijan that housed three NGOs: the Institute for Peace and Democracy, the Azerbaijan Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Women’s Crisis Center, was destroyed on August 11. The demolition was part of a two-year “beautification” campaign demolishing homes and businesses instigated by the mayor of Baku and condemned by the United Nations High Commissioner as well as human rights groups. City officials reportedly did not give tenants warning or allow them remove their belongings before demolition began. Anti-corruption campaigns spearheaded by NGOs could be a potential factor in the demolition.

The International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan condemns the 26 March 2011 abduction and beating of journalist Seymur Khaziyev. The group is deeply concerned by the cycle of violence against journalists and impunity for those who commit such attacks in Azerbaijan, and calls on the authorities to immediately and impartially investigate all instances of violence against journalists and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Freedom House strongly condemns the intimidation and arrest of activists and journalists by Azeri authorities over the weekend and calls for the immediate release of all detained.



Director, Europe and Eurasia programs

Marc Behrendt is the Director for Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House, with over 20 years of experience working in the Eurasia region in peacebuilding, governance and human rights.


Signature Reports

Special Reports

Promise and Reversal: The Post-Soviet Landscape Twenty Years On

“Promise and Reversal: The Post-Soviet Landscape Twenty Years On,” marks the 20th anniversary of the failed Soviet coup of August 19, 1991. The retrospective essay examines the changes in the political rights and civil liberties in the former Soviet Union over the last two decades, as well as includes graphs and rankings that illustrate the region's performance in the annual Freedom House publications Freedom in the World and Freedom of the Press. The report  concludes that there is a serious and disturbing failure to embrace democratic institutions in most of the post-Soviet region.


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