Friday, August 01, 2014


Watchdog

New Campaign Highlights Azerbaijani Rights Abuses Ahead Of Eurovision

Sabina Babayeva is Azerbaijan's entry for Eurovision.
Sabina Babayeva is Azerbaijan's entry for Eurovision.
A new video campaign is turning up the heat on this year's Eurovision Song Contest host Azerbaijan over the country's dubious human rights record.
 
After winning the 2011 contest, Azerbaijan earns the right to host the May 22-26 competition, which is one of the most-watched TV events in the world and known for its mix of kitschy pop music and garish costumes.
 
Sing for Democracy, a group based in Baku, is asking people to sign a petition calling on contestants to support human rights in Azerbaijan.
 


The video begins by showing the glitzy, modern side of Baku, before highlighting the unsolved murders and imprisonment of journalists, the controversial demolitions of Baku homes, and the brutal suppression of peaceful demonstrations.

If Eurovision entrants wanted any ideas on how to make a political statement, a poll on the Sing for Democracy website suggests they could dedicate their songs to human rights or wear clothes featuring images of political prisoners.
 
One of those mentioned in the campaign video is Khadija Ismayilova, an RFE/RL freelancer and investigative journalist, who was recently the target of a blackmail attempt after she received written threats and an intimate video of her was published on the Internet.

Azerbaijan has spent huge amounts of money in recent years rejuvenating the capital, Baku, much of it being spent on grandiose construction projects.
 
Human Rights Watch has criticized Azerbaijan for "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." 

A woman stands near a demolished house in Baku last month.A woman stands near a demolished house in Baku last month.
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A woman stands near a demolished house in Baku last month.
A woman stands near a demolished house in Baku last month.
Amnesty International has also criticized the Azerbaijani authorities, saying that the contest should "lift the glitzy curtains" and expose the corruption, torture, ill-treatment, and unfair trials of dissidents in Azerbaijan.
 
An Amnesty campaign video, called "It's time for Azerbaijan to earn some points for human rights," similarly juxtaposes images of gleaming Azerbaijan -- where everyone is driving sports cars and sipping champagne on yachts -- with footage of police breaking up protests.
 
If the campaigns do convince some of the Eurovision performers to take a stand it could result in some embarrassing moments for the Azerbaijani hosts.
 
Last week, British songstress Sandie Shaw, who won the contest with "Puppet On A String" in 1967, joined the voices calling on Azerbaijan to put an end to media repression and rights violations.

Tags: eurovision

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sey from: World
April 16, 2012 17:01
Did you watch the video? Look up at how many Azeries are blaming Armenians for the video. Wasn't "Sing for Democracy" a Baku-based group?

What do Armenians have to do with the human rights violations in Azerbaijan? And the most hilarious thing is they believe having lots of money equals having no human rights violations, no evictions, no problems, no anything...and of course being better than the "jealous Armenians"

Azerbaijanis are truly crazy, they see Armenians everywhere.

In Response

by: Sınav from: South Azerbaijan
April 18, 2012 11:01
That’s because Armenians usually are the ones directing the smear campaigns against Azerbaijan by blowing one side of the story out of proportion and keeping the other side in the dark.
In Response

by: Narqiz from: Azerbaijan
April 19, 2012 05:07
So far it is you to behave insane! Your racism will not help you...

by: TheHunter from: UK
April 16, 2012 17:28
I don't understand what it has got to do with Eurovision.
Wow, old Hump is the focus of all Sandie not:-)

by: Leyla from: Baku
April 19, 2012 05:40
Does Amnesty International and those standing behind them really think that by those amateur videos they will be able to convince anybody in bad situation in Azerbaijan? In the video they show the deceased writer Rafik Tagi, but forget to note that the Iranian religious extremists are to be blamed for his death, then, Anar Bayramly, the correspondent of the Iranian propagandist TV-channel, promoting terrorism and anti-semitism, besides, Anar took drugs and had a large dose of drugs during the arrest. The shootings of dispersing unauthorised demonstrations are interesting, as well. You can see the same in Italy, Greece, Spain, and France, too.
In Response

by: Observer from: Baku
April 20, 2012 09:38
They convince me. Funny how many journalists and members of the opposition are being arrested for drug possession or hooliganism, isn't it?

by: Natalie from: Germany
April 19, 2012 09:47
I think it is not appropriate to give a political tint to everything. Now many organizations and mass media use the contest to carry on a smear campaign against Azerbaijan.

by: RD
April 20, 2012 23:54
Shame on the Eurovision organizers for allowing Azerbaijan to host Eurovision 2012 in Azerbaijan. Shame, shame, shame. This is a regime that not only suppresses its own people, but its president is stupid enough to say Armenians all over the world are his biggest enemy. Let me tell you something you racist president, a lot of Armenians don't give two hoots about you.

by: TheHunter from: UK
April 21, 2012 22:49
I think that Azerbaijan is an object of jealousy by those unbeaten fascists and racists poisoning this world by their jealousy and annoying propaganda everywhere. After all it's just Eurovision Song Contest and Azerbaijan have been great in it since its entrance in 2008.

by: Natalie from: Germany
April 27, 2012 10:54
Firstly, there are not so many arrested people for any activity like this. Secondly, have opposition journalists and politicians a right for hooliganism and keeping drugs, according to your logic?

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