Azerbaijan has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and plays a pivotal role in diversifying sources of energy. A moderate Muslim country, Azerbaijan enjoys good relations with the United States. On human rights, however, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe have numerous concerns, including freedom of the media, political prisoners and the conduct of elections.
With the presidential contest in October 2008, Azerbaijan would have an opportunity to hold an election that meets OSCE commitments, as well as implement other reforms. The hearing examined the state of human rights and democratization in Azerbaijan and discussed how U.S. – Azerbaijan cooperation could help promote advances.