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U.S. Official Says Azerbaijan Rights Situation Worsening ‘Dramatically’

Asenior U.S. official says civil liberties in Azerbaijan have steadily worsened over the past five years and continue to deteriorate. 

In 2009, advocates of democratic reforms – in particular opposition political parties – already faced difficulties participating in Azerbaijan’s political life, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Melia said in June 11 testimony before the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

"But it was still possible for NGOs and independent activists to operate. Sadly, the environment has worsened significantly since then,” said Melia, who is responsible for Europe – including Russia – in the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

Melia cited politically tinged prosecutions of peaceful political activists and the introduction of onerous laws targeting NGOs as examples of a broad crackdown on civil society under Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.


Radio Liberty


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