During the first quarter of 2020, EMDS recorded 218 human rights violations upon 141 facts based on the analysis of information received from citizen complaints and monitoring of events on human rights violations. In particular, violations regarding the right to a fair trial, social security rights and freedom of expression stood out among others. Out of 218 overall violations, 142 were connected to civil and political rights where social and economic rights were violated in rest 76 of the cases.
The quarter was accompanied by several important events. The beginning of the year coincided with the 9 February extraordinary Parliamentary Elections. Late February marked the first instance of a confirmed case of coronavirus infection in Azerbaijan whereas the quarantine measures followed since the mid-March.
Issue related to the political prisoners remains unsolved throughout the quarter, alongside the block put on the access to the websites of independent media outlets. The highlights of the quarter concerning human rights were the electoral irregularities, post-election protests and the start of a wave of political persecution against the opposition members and activists during the pandemic.
EMDS noted that the restriction brought upon the freedom of expression, assembly and association remained not lifted during the Parliamentary Elections held on 9 February. The electoral process alongside the Election day was accompanied by the number of serious irregularities and thus “failed to reflect the free will of the people of Azerbaijan”
Unfair court processes and the omissions of relevant state bodies in the provision of adequate living standards remained as the main reasons for violations. Artificial bureaucratic hindrances and corruption come as other outstanding reasons for most of the complaints of the violation of human rights during the quarter.
The measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic were abused under a new wave of political pressure at least 10 activists were punished under trumped-up accusations such as, among others, disobeying the legal command of the police, violating quarantine rules and so on.
Read the full report here