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, with a view to re-launching the activities of the House in Baku.
Human Rights House Azerbaijan 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.
In 2013, members of the House reviewed criteria for new members and in 2014 looked to reopen. However, the growing crackdown on civil society led to the imprisonment of the heads of several of the organisations. Following their release in 2016, the processes started in 2013/2014 were again taken up – to revise criteria, close the old group, and establish a new core group.
The three organisations in this core group work on, respectively, protecting women’s rights, engaging in legal education and representing cases at the European court of human rights, and promoting democratic elections and institutions. To varying degrees, they face challenges in continuing their human rights work, such as travel bans or restrictions on activities and funding.