Center for National and International Studies
“When the state fails to take responsibility for its citizens and the police dismiss women’s complaints about their spouses as “family matters” without intervention, it is inevitable that the number of women falling victim to violence and murder will continue to rise…”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Freedoms
The petition requesting the release of Gubad Ibadoglu, the chairman of the Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Party, on bail was reviewed. During the session held at the Narimanov District Court, the accused’s lawyer, Zibeyda Sadygova, presented arguments for the appeal. The lawyer expressed concern about her client’s health and emphasized that his detention was impeding access to necessary medical treatment. However, the court deemed the appeal to be without merit and ruled to maintain Ibadoglu‘s custody.
A horrifying murder occurred in the village of Jorat on a Saturday morning. An armed attack took place at the residence of Dagbey Farajov, a member of the Musavat Party‘s Sumgayit city organization. Tragically, both Dagbey Farajov and his daughter Suzana Khanim lost their lives, while three other individuals in the house sustained severe injuries. The search for the perpetrator (or perpetrators) of this crime has been initiated. Party members extended their condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased, paid their respects to their memory, and offered wishes for the recovery of the injured individuals.
The Council of Europe’s report unveiled that Azerbaijan stands at the top in Europe in the category of drug-related crimes. According to the report released for the year 2022, 37 percent of those convicted faced penalties for drug-related offenses. It should be added that a significant portion of the country’s political prisoners are apprehended on drug-related charges.
Activist Nigar Hezi raised the issue of selective abortions in Azerbaijan, revealing that the country holds the top position globally for selective abortions. This distressing trend involves the prenatal termination of female fetuses, marking an alarming and deeply concerning statistic. Hezi argued that similar to the disturbing level of femicide in the country, this issue is also rooted in political factors. Hezi: “It is likely that women abort their baby girls due to pressure from their spouses or their spouses’ families. While it’s true that, in some cases, it may be a woman’s own decision, these exceptions don’t change the overall outcome. When women lack freedom, it leads to these societal outcomes. Women should be able to give birth to their babies without gender-based discrimination. Additionally, lawyer Zibeyda Sadigova regularly reports distressing news of women falling victim to murder and suicide. These women often suffer brutal deaths at the hands of their husbands or are driven to the point of suicide. When the state fails to take responsibility for its citizens and the police dismiss women’s complaints about their spouses as “family matters” without intervention, it is inevitable that the number of women falling victim to violence and murder will continue to rise.
As reported by Azadlig Newspaper, there is no one stepping forward to repair the roof of the house belonging to a martyr’s family. Elmir Valiyev, hailing from Karimbeyli village in Fuzuli, made the ultimate sacrifice on October 27, 2020, in the battles for Fuzuli, leaving behind a daughter and a son. On June 18 of this year, strong winds tore off the roof of the house where the martyr’s family resides. Despite four months passing since the incident, no government agency has taken responsibility for the house’s repair. The district authorities have done nothing more than making empty promises.
According to lawyer Rufat Safarov, yet another tragic incident occurred as a street sweeper was struck and killed by a car. Regrettably, the recurring tragedy of women sweepers falling victim to car accidents continues, with another incident happening today. A sweeper woman was struck by a car on the road known as the Airport Highway and tragically lost her life on the spot due to the severity of her injuries. These women, due to the nature of their work, face a constant risk to their lives, as their safety does not seem to be a priority for the authorities. It is essential that such tasks are handled by machines rather than elderly women, said Safarov.
Journalist Seymur Hezi reports that TikTok is still inaccessible in Azerbaijan. Hezi: “Our government, which allows banal programs to be aired on TV channels, has chosen not to lift the TikTok platform’s ban, much like our closed land borders. I believe the primary reason behind this decision is the government’s inability to control the widespread dissemination of content on TikTok and identify its supporters. It is time to reopen both TikTok and our land borders!”
Governance and Corruption
Hikmet Hajiyev, the Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan for Foreign Policy, has stated that the Zangazur Corridor has lost its appeal for Baku. In an interview with Politico, Hajiyev also dismissed foreign media reports suggesting that Azerbaijan intended to occupy the Syunik region of Armenia to establish a corridor to Nakhchivan. He underscored that Azerbaijan’s access to Nakhchivan could be achieved through Iranian territory.
Akop Vardanyan, Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure of Armenia, expressed Armenia’s willingness to purchase gas from Azerbaijan once the political disputes between the two countries are resolved. Vardanyan made these remarks during his participation in the Tbilisi International “Silk Road” Forum. He also mentioned that the disruption of gas and electricity supplies from Azerbaijan to Armenia, stemming from the conflict, had a significant impact on Armenia’s energy systems. In the past, Armenia had procured gas from Azerbaijan, but the conflict necessitated the construction of a new gas pipeline through Georgian territory.
Tofig Yagublu, a member of the National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF), highlighted the deteriorating state of public transportation in Baku. He emphasized that it would be a far more worthwhile investment for the government to prioritize the construction of additional metro lines, rather than allocating resources to unnecessary Olympic complexes. Yagublu: If Heydar Aliyev had put his son Ilham Aliyev in charge of the Baku metro instead of the National Olympic Committee, there would be metro stations in all the districts of Baku, just as there are Olympic complexes in every corner of the country. By the way, the number of subway stations in Baku is embarrassingly limited, and as a result, the city faces significant challenges in the realm of passenger transportation.”
Commenting on the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, member of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) Fuad Gahramanli said that in the near future Azerbaijani government will be required to increase the situation of democracy and human rights. Gahramanli’s Facebook post: “Due to the current conflict in the Middle East parallel to Russia’s defeat in Ukraine, the probability that Iran will become a target of strikes by the United States and Israel is increasing. Faced with this prospect, the Azerbaijani government’s strategic alignment with Russia is poised to position it as a participant in the anticipated challenges that Russia and Iran may encounter in the future. It would be an error to assume that, in the ongoing geopolitical dynamics, the Azerbaijani authorities will not face repercussions for their involvement in an anti-Western alliance. Consequently, the Western support provided to Armenia today is not a direct consequence of a stance against Azerbaijan but rather aligns with the pro-Russian direction chosen by the official authorities in Baku, in line with their interests. In terms of democratic processes, it is foreseeable that Western support for democracy in Azerbaijan will intensify in the near future, with an increased emphasis on critical issues such as human rights and democratic freedoms in their bilateral relations. This is because democracy will no longer solely represent a matter of values and principles for the West; it will also be employed as a tool of geopolitical leverage against the Azerbaijani ruling power, which has allied with Russia. Consequently, in the imminent phase, the alignment between the demands of democracy and pragmatic political interests will become more pronounced. From this standpoint, the enhanced Western advocacy for democracy will hold geopolitical significance and bolster their support for anti-Russian policies.”
October 31, 2023