The Senate Human Rights Caucus

Co-Chairs Senator Mark Kirk and Senator Chris Coons invite you to join us for a special congressional briefing

Human Rights in Azerbaijan: A Pre-Election Preview

Wednesday, October 28


325 Russell Senate Office Building

On November 1,
Azerbaijan will hold parliamentary elections in the midst of a systematic
crackdown on civil society. As the Azerbaijani government continues to pursue
an assertive PR campaign in Washington and Europe, it denies there are
political prisoners. Yet, in a one year period, civil society in Azerbaijan has
experienced an unprecedented and swift assault – dozens of journalists, human
rights defenders, and political and religious activists are behind bars on
false charges. Many have been mistreated and are suffering potentially fatal
health consequences, including human rights defenders Leyla and Arif Yunus.
U.S. civil society and media organizations have been shut down and their
employees harassed and arrested, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova, and reports about harassment and
imprisonment of local election monitors in Azerbaijan continue to surface in
the media. 

This briefing will seek to examine the current political
environment in Azerbaijan and address important questions, including: What
do the November 1 elections mean for the future of democratic governance in
Azerbaijan? What rights violations are occurring? What does the apparent drift
from Western values mean for the Azerbaijan’s strategic partnership with the
U.S.?  How does corruption in Azerbaijan impact U.S. interests?  Is
current U.S. foreign policy toward Azerbaijan effectively promoting U.S. values
and protecting U.S. interests? How can policymakers support human rights in
Azerbaijan and encourage a reliable partnership that is advantageous for both


Dinara Yunus, daughter of imprisoned
Azerbaijani human rights defenders Leyla and Arif Yunus

Ambassador Richard Kauzlarich, former
U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan

Miriam Lanskoy, National
Endowment for Democracy

Tamara Grigoryeva, Freedom House


David Kramer, The McCain Institute for
International Leadership



House | National Endowment for Democracy | Reporters Without Borders

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