An alliance of human rights and sports NGOs has called on the European Olympic Committees to "speak out against Azerbaijan’s harsh crackdown against government critics and worsening environment for media freedom."
In a statement on April 7, Human Watch Rights says the Sport and Rights Alliance made the call in recent letter to the president of the European Olympic Committees, Patrick Hickey.
It comes as Azerbaijan prepares to host the first European Games, organized under the auspices of the Olympic Movement, in Baku in June.
The alliance said Azerbaijan’s "crackdown" on activists and journalists is at odds with key principles of the Olympic Charter that the European Games are meant to uphold.
"Given the history of abuses and the intensified crackdown on dissent in Azerbaijan, fundamental human rights are likely to be under attack in the context of the Baku Games," the letter said.