Human Rights House Azerbaijan
Established in 2007, Human Rights House Azerbaijan was forced to close its doors due to the crackdown in civil society in the country in 2014. Today 3 organisations are working toward re-opening the House.
Three independent human rights organisations formed a new core group for Human Rights House Azerbaijan in December 2017. With HRHF, they aim to continue a policy of engaging constructively with the Azerbaijani authorities, and have developed a roadmap with a view to relaunching the activities of the House in Baku.
The roadmap identifies areas of work and activities in which the House can start operating and contribute to Azerbaijan’s implementation of international standards and recommendations. These are in line with the self-declared priorities of Azerbaijan and should prove beneficial for the authorities to approve them.
The core group work on, respectively, protecting women’s rights and promoting gender equality, engaging in legal education and representing cases at the European court of human rights, and promoting democratic elections and institutions. They face challenges in continuing their human rights work, such as travel bans or restrictions on activities and funding. The organisations are developing plans for activities inside the country, but are reliant on the authorities allowing the House to reopen.
The House provided a vibrant space in central Baku for dialogue, discussion, and education on human rights until March 2011, when Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Justice ordered the House to cease all activities. HRHF continued to work with member organisations following this, even increasing its support. The member NGOs remained visible and active, taking over activities over the House until the crackdown in 2014.