"Azerbaijan is hosting the first ever European Games in June. It is a chance the country sees to spotlight its progress and economic development. At the same time as Azerbaijan is trying to promote an extremely progressive image abroad what we see at home is extremely regressive and abusive. Basically the independent human rights community is in jail or in prison on politically motivated charges", says Jane Buchanan, in a new video released by Human Rights Watch on April 20.
Buchanan who is the associate Europe and Central Asia Director at the Human Rights Watch also said, "With less than two months to go to the European Games, the spotlight is increasingly on Azerbaijan’s terrible human rights record and its political prosecutions of critics. This is a key moment for Azerbaijan’s partners, including the European Union, to call on Azerbaijan to release the critics it has thrown behind bars and end its crackdown."
Human Rights Watch calls on "European leaders not to be sending high-level delegations to the games’ opening ceremonies unless people imprisoned for criticizing the government are freed and the government’s crackdown on independent groups and activists ends."