Amnesty Urges Azerbaijan to Respect Human Rights ahead of Eurovision Contest
Amnesty International has urged Azerbaijan to address what it called the “unsavory truth” of its record on human rights, RFE/RL reports.
The human rights watchdog said in a press briefing that ahead of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Baku the country should release 16 prisoners held since April 2011 in the wake of government protests.
“Corruption and forced evictions, torture and ill-treatment, unfair trials and harassment – these all go unpunished, while restrictions on freedom of expression tie the hands of civil society activists,” said Europe and Central Asia Deputy Programme Director John Dalhuisen.
“For much too long the international community has been turning a blind eye to repression in Azerbaijan. The 2012 Eurovision Song Contest should lift the glitzy curtains and expose human rights abuses to millions of people.”
On Jan. 17, Human Rights Watch said the Eurovision contest in Azerbaijan in May is being overshadowed by what the group described as “the illegal evictions, expropriations, and demolitions for hundreds of local residents forced out from their homes.”
Meanwhile, on Feb. 20, a senior official at the presidential administration, Ali Hasanov, condemned what he called the “politicizing” of the Eurovision song contest.
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