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Azerbaijan

HRW Says Illegal Azerbaijani Evictions Overshadowing Eurovision Contest

A simulation of the Baku Crystal Hall, where the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest will be held.
A simulation of the Baku Crystal Hall, where the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest will be held.
By RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticized the Azerbaijani authorities for what the group calls "the forcible eviction of residents to demolish the last standing building in the neighborhood of the capital, Baku, where the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest is to be held."

Residents of the nine-story apartment block told U.S.-based HRW that construction workers forced them to leave their apartments this week.

And they say local authorities offered them inadequate housing compensation.

Hugh Williamson, HRW's Europe and Central Asia director, was quoted as saying Eurovision in Azerbaijan was being overshadowed by what he described as "the illegal evictions, expropriations, and demolitions for hundreds of local residents forced out from their homes."

The 2012 Eurovision contest will be held in Baku in May.

See RFE/RL's report with video in Azeri here
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by: Sara Huseyn from: Baku
February 27, 2012 12:25
Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku - a new stage in the cultural and political life of Azerbaijan nation, an indicator of its high level. So say many European and Western analysts, as can be read in major newspapers and magazines in the West.
Eurovision 2012 - a new opportunity for Azerbaijan to show the world their achievements, as the world knows very little.
Due to its cultural and musical level convincingly defeated Azerbaijan in Eurovision 2011, and showed the world how our republic is ahead of many leading countries.
Having won the Eurovision Song Contest 2011, Azerbaijan has received the baton for the next Eurovision Song Contest in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
What kind of people enthusiastically greeted the news of victory and the conduct of the Eurovision, it can be seen on You tube. Victory in the Eurovision Song Contest to unite the nation, because after the Armenian aggression, it was the first victory of Azerbaijan, and will follow her and others. We believe that not far off the day when we celebrate the victory in Karabakh.
To do this, Azerbaijan has all the features and economic and political. The capital of Azerbaijan is preparing to welcome your guests with honor. Building new concert halls, stadiums, hotels, carried out restoration work.
For the beauty and cleanliness of streets, avenues, squares, parks and gardens, Baku now is not inferior to many European cities.
And we hope that the guests of our country will soon see it all with my own eyes. We believe that Baku will leave them in the soul an indelible impression not only of our capital, but also about the beautiful hospitality of the Azerbaijani nation.
I am glad that the organizing work for the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku laid on First Lady of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva, Goodwill Ambassador UNESCO and ISSESCO which differs refined sense of beauty and is considered an expert in global and national musical culture. Recent international music festivals in Gabala , Mugam festival - to clear evidence that indicates the level of the daughter of Azerbaijan. However, our luck did not like our enemies.
And they joined the anti-Azerbaijani company. Immediately after the victory of Azerbaijan in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011, the Armenian propaganda machine and its Diaspora began to conduct anti-Azerbaijani propaganda in order to European countries refused to participate in Eurovision 2012. Unfortunately, some NGOs are funded by the Armenian Diaspora, with them joined the anti-Azerbaijani propaganda. Hiding behind the slogans of human rights, they want to strike out a victory in Azerbaijan's Eurovision Song Contest in 2011.
The most disgusting in their actions what they want to win our present world community as a victory gained for the money. Eurovision - not political, but musical and cultural event that unites all the countries of the European continent, serving as a rapprochement of peoples and nations of Europe. The use of ESC in the political struggle is an immoral act. Therefore call on the authorities and opposition to the political struggle is not on this plane. We encourage our citizens to be vigilant and see what damage is applied to the image, some NGOs in Azerbaijan. Based on the foregoing, we encourage the healthy forces of the republic, regardless of their political and religious beliefs to join in the social movement in support of the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku.
To solve problems associated with this movement, we opened on FASEBOOK-e page that will contain positive information relating to the conduct of the Eurovision in Baku.
In Response

by: RD
March 09, 2012 09:20
It is ironic how you write; "Eurovision - not political but musical and cultural event" but you start your commentary with statements that Karabakh will soon be liberated, mixing Eurovision with politics yourself. Obviously you should stick to reading comic books. By the way, Karabakh was already liberated, a day celebrated on May 18th of every year. Karabakh may not have the petro dollars Azerbaijan has, but the citizens of Karabakh are at peace and have hope for a better future. Something they never did under oppressive Azeri rule.
In Response

by: Azerbaijani from: Lond
March 09, 2012 13:48
I agree that winning the Eurovision in 2011 is a great victory for us and a great chance to promote our culture and our country. I do not agree though that people of our country should be treated unfairly, evicted from their homes, offered ridiculous amounts as 'compensation' and silenced if they dare to speak out. This is unfair. We have money. In fact, we have a lot of money. So, why are we treating our people as if they were numbers? It does not cost a lot to properly reallocate them, offer them decent accommodation to replace their homes that are being demolished.

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