Azerbaijan Faces Criticism for Media and Civil Society Crackdown Ahead of Hosting COP29 Summit

Azerbaijan has come under scrutiny for its treatment of journalists, bloggers, opposition politicians, and academics, particularly those investigating issues like revenue transparency in the hydrocarbon sector, ahead of hosting the COP29 climate summit. Human Rights Watch highlights a crackdown on civil society, which raises concerns about the country’s ability to foster an open dialogue on climate policies, especially given its dependence on the fossil fuel industry. The situation brings to light the broader issue of host country selection for such significant international events, suggesting the need for transparency and human rights considerations in the decision-making process.
  • Azerbaijan is hosting COP29 amidst criticism for cracking down on media and civil society.
  • The country ranks low on Transparency International’s annual list, indicating issues with corruption and transparency.
  • Human Rights Watch reports arrests and sentencing of at least 25 journalists, bloggers, activists, and academics in the past year.
  • There are calls for Azerbaijan to release those unjustly imprisoned to demonstrate its credibility as a host for the climate summit.
  • The selection of host countries for COP summits is critiqued, with calls for human rights conditionality and transparency in the host country contract.
  • The importance of a robust civil society for challenging government climate policies and promoting transparency in the fossil fuel industry is emphasized.

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