Dominique Robertson, Paris Bezanis
On this day in 2008, Azerbaijan celebrated its first “Human Rights Day”.
This year the date falls in the midst of a growing human rights crisis. The current regime in Azerbaijan has enforced one of the harshest crackdowns on media and political opposition in the the young country’s 22 years of history-one of the most severe displays of political autocracy since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Many have cited the inaugural European Games, hosted in Baku, as the reason for such repression. Subsequently, we have compiled a list of statistics gathered by global organizations pertaining to Azerbaijan’s human rights and political transparency track record.
Here are the top 10 statistics to know about Azerbaijan’s current human rights situation:
1. In 2015, the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked Azerbaijan as number 5 in its list of top 10 most censored countries in the world.
2. Freedom House, in a 2013 survey of press freedom, rated Azerbaijan as having the 19th least free press in the world.
3. In 2015 Reporters Without Borders ranked Azerbaijan's freedom of the press as 162 best out of 180 countries, and commented that it was in a ‘very serious situation’.
4. The Global Corruption Barometer reported that in 2010, 47% of the responding census population of Azerbaijan admitted to paying a bribe.
5. In 2012 the World Economic Forum ranked Azerbaijan 83 out of 143 on a scale investigating the influence of politics on judicial decisions, with 143 reflecting “the most influence”.
6. In 2014 Transparency International gave Azerbaijan a score of 126 out of 175 on an assessment of how corrupt a nation’s public sector is perceived to be, with 175 being the most corrupt.
7. In a 2010 World Bank assessment of public sector corruption, Azerbaijan received a score of -1.172 on a scale of -2.5 to 2.5, with the higher score indicating less public sector corruption.
8. In a 2014 assessment of government corruption perceptions by Transparency International, Azerbaijan received a score of 29 out of 100. The lower number reflects more perceived corruption within the state.
9. According to Amnesty International’s Annual Report for 2014/15, the bank accounts of 10 NGOs defending Human Rights were frozen in May, preventing them from carrying out activity in Azerbaijan.
10. According to multiple media and NGO outlets, Azerbaijan currently holds 20 known prisoners of conscience and a reported 80+ political oppositionists and activists jailed on trumped up charges.