Center for National and International Studies



“The arrest of activists continued in Baku during the military operation in Karabakh…”

(Lack of ) Human Rights and Freedoms

The arrests of activists occurred at a time when the Azerbaijani government had asserted its commitment to safeguarding the rights and security of Armenians residing in Karabakh. In the past 24 hours, five members of the civil society have been stripped of their freedom, with two of them facing criminal charges while three others are subject to administrative arrests.

During the military operation in Karabakh, the repression against the activists continued in Baku. Rail Abbasov, who played an active role in the defense of jailed activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, was arrested, and sentenced to four months imprisonment.

Additionally, activists Nemat Abbasov, Amrah Tahmazov, and former diplomat Emin Shaig Ibrahimov were all detained for a period of 30 days due to their expression of critical and dissenting opinions. Afiaddin Mammadov, who serves as the head of the Workers’ Table Trade Unions Confederation, was apprehended and accused of a stabbing incident, resulting in the initiation of a criminal case against him. Human rights advocates maintain that these individuals have not committed any administrative or criminal offenses and assert that their arrests are linked to their public activities and expressed opinions.

Human Rights Ombudsman of Nagorno Karabakh Gegham Stepanyan, said that at least 200 people died and more than 400 injured as a result of Azerbaijan’s military operation. “Among the civilian population, the number of dead has exceeded 40, and 13 of them are children”, Stepanyan said.

The European Court of Human Rights has fully endorsed the allegations made by Gubad Ibadoglu‘s legal team. Ibadoghlu’s brother, Galib Toghrul Bey, has requested a specialized clinic examination and treatment for Gubad Bey, a request now acknowledged by the European Court. This marks the first such decision concerning Azerbaijan. Consequently, the government is now obligated to arrange for the examination and treatment of Gubad Ibadoglu at a specialized clinic in accordance with the court’s directive and provide regular updates to the European Court.

Furthermore, the European Court has granted priority status to Gubad Ibadoglu‘s case under Rule 41. This means that the European Court will expedite the consideration of Ibadoglu‘s complaint ahead of other cases in its queue.

Azerbaijan’s military operation in Karabakh

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Defense made an announcement regarding the commencement of localized military operations in Karabakh. According to the official statement released by the ministry, the objective behind these operations is to prevent significant provocations, facilitate the disarmament and withdrawal of Armenian armed forces units from the region, and neutralize their military infrastructure. The ministry has called these actions an anti-terrorist operation.

“Within the framework of the measures, the front-line and deep positions and long-term firing points of the units of the Armenian armed forces, as well as combat vehicles and military objects, are destroyed by the use of high-precision weapons,” the statement of the ministry said.

Aliyev maintained that his forces exclusively targeted military installations, while the authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh reported “intense shelling” affecting civilians in Stepanakert and other regions.

Access to the social media platform “TikTok” has been limited in Azerbaijan, leaving the users unable to update their profiles, initiate live broadcasts, or share content on “TikTok.” No official announcement has been issued regarding the restrictions on “TikTok” activities. It is presumed that this measure was implemented in response to the ongoing fights in Karabakh.

A day after another bloody conflict, the representatives from Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azerbaijani government agreed to have discussions regarding the future of the breakaway region. Azerbaijan asserts full control over the region, achieved through a military offensive on Tuesday. However, the discussion in Yevlakh did not result in a conclusive agreement. Elchin Amirbeyov, who serves as the representative of Ilham Aliyev for negotiations with Armenians of Karabakh, stressed the impracticality of reaching all agreements in one meeting. Today’s discussions signify the beginning of a sequence of upcoming meetings, he added.

An adviser to the leader of ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh emphasized the importance of security guarantees before any consideration of disarmament. This statement came a day after Azerbaijan’s declaration that it had regained control of the breakaway region. The Karabakh Armenian authorities leveled accusations against Azerbaijan, claiming violations of the ceasefire agreement reached on Wednesday, which came about following a swift Azerbaijani offensive that compelled the separatists to accept disarmament.

Armenian sources reported that approximately 5,000 civilians were successfully evacuated. On Wednesday, a significant number of additional individuals gathered at Stepanakert’s airport in the hopes of leaving the region.

At the request of France, the U.N. Security Council has scheduled a meeting on Nagorno-Karabakh for Thursday. French President Emmanuel Macron, after conversing with Aliyev on Wednesday, denounced Azerbaijan’s use of force as potentially exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh, as stated by the French presidential office. Macron emphasized the necessity to adhere to the ceasefire and ensure the rights and security of the people of Karabakh in accordance with international law. White House national security spokesman John Kirby expressed deep concern over Azerbaijan’s military actions and underscored their close monitoring of the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.

During a Thursday phone call with Aliyev, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed the importance of guaranteeing the rights and security of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, as reported by the Tass news agency. Tass also mentioned that during the phone conversation, Aliyev apologized to Putin for the loss of Russian peacekeepers in the region on Wednesday.

September 22, 2023