Annual Report: Azerbaijan 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Azerbaijan 2011

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  • On 27 April, around 80 people, travelling to a rally in Baku in defence of the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, were seized by police officers, who pushed them into minibuses and police cars. Forty were driven to the outskirts of the city and released immediately and another 30 were taken to a police station and released after five hours. Ten were charged with resisting arrest and violating public order, and released in the late evening. On 13 April, police had broken up a similar protest at the same location organized by the opposition Musavat party, arrested 47 people and released them after several hours.

Freedom of association

Loopholes in the law relating to the registration of NGOs continued to be used to prevent organizations from registering legally. Some religious communities were also denied registration or faced difficulties re-registering, following the 2009 amendments to the Law on Freedom of Religion which made unregistered activity illegal. According to a report published in June by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, fewer than half the 534 previously registered religious communities were able to re-register.

Violence against women

On 25 May, parliament adopted the Draft Law on Domestic Violence, criminalizing domestic violence and providing for the creation of aid centres for victims of violence.