The situation for Azerbaijani activists who work online did not improve after the IGF came to town in 2012. In fact, it actually became worse. APCNews talks to Gulnara Akhundova of International Media Support and Emin Huseynov from the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety about the impact one year later.
Press release: Freedom of expression and hate speech continue to dominate internet rights discourse at UPR
Between 22 April and 3 May 2013, the UN Human Rights Council held the 16th session of its Universal Periodic Review. APC, together with its members and partners, developed submissions for the inclusion of internet-related human rights issues in the recommendations made for the reviews of Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Canada and Colombia.
The International Partnership Group on Azerbaijan, of which APC is a member organisation, urges the UN to hold Azerbaijan to account during its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for its failure to protect basic human rights.
Just months after the Internet Governance Forum, hundreds of people have demonstrated in Azerbaijan’s capital to express solidarity with recent protests in the central town of Ismayilli and denounce heavy police brutality. Some 40 participants were detained, including prominent blogger Emin Milli, investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova and human rights defenders.
Carlos Afonso's speech at the IGF opening ceremony: "Let the internet flourish freely to the benefit of those who live at its edges, which are all of us"
“Let the Internet flourish freely to the benefit of those who live at its edges, which are all of us,” said Carlos Afonso in his speech during the opening ceremony of this year’s Internet Governance Forum in Baku, Azerbaijan on 6 November 2012.
The International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan – of which APC is a member – has made a coalition submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review of Azerbaijan. The report, for which APC has contributed its expertise on “restrictions on freedom of expression online” is for consideration at the 16th session of the UN Human Rights Council’s working group in April/May 2013.
Since the outbreak of the Arab Spring in 2011, government has shown much desire to regulate the internet. The uprising in the Guba district in March 2012 has shown the pivotal role that social media can play in Azerbaijani political life, Vugar Gojayev told APCNews, in an interview for the forthcoming Global Information Society Watch report.
APCNews has interviewed Rebecca Vincent, a human rights consultant who is currently working with ARTICLE 19 to coordinate the International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan, a coalition of international organisations working to promote and protect freedom of expression in Azerbaijan. Here’s her take on the human rights situation on Azerbaijan’s net.