Title

The Rule of Law and Civil Society in Azerbaijan

Thursday, November 05, 2015
2:00pm
Cannon House Office Building, Room 311
Washington, DC
United States
Members: 
Name: 
Hon. Robert B. Aderholt
Title Text: 
Commissioner
Body: 
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Moderator(s): 
Name: 
Shelly Han
Title Text: 
Policy Advisor
Body: 
Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
Witnesses: 
Name: 
Ambassador Richard Morningstar
Title: 
Founding Director of the Global Energy Center
Body: 
Atlantic Council
Name: 
Natalia Bourjaily
Title: 
Vice President - Eurasia
Body: 
International Center for Not-For-Profit Law
Name: 
Dinara Yunus
Body: 
Daughter of Imprisoned Azerbaijani Human Rights Defenders Leyla and Arif Yunus

Azerbaijan's parliamentary election in November 2015 provided further evidence of the absence of rule of law in Azerbaijan. The majority of opposition candidates were not allowed on the ballot, there was no mechanism for debate on television, election monitors faced intimidation, and Azerbaijan generally failed to abide by minimum standards of elections it has committed itself to in the OSCE. Rule of law means that governmental powers are restricted by certain standards, which includes that citizens are allowed mechanisms to hold government accountable, such as through the media and civil society. These freedoms are greatly restricted in Azerbaijan. This briefing sought to better understand the situation in Azerbaijan through the testimonies of experts, including a particularly moving testimony by Dinara Yunus, the daughter of two imprisoned Azerbaijani human rights defenders. 

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