At least 80 Azerbaijani gay and transgender people were arrested in pubs, bars, and LGBT-friendly clubs, according to the authorities to ‘’protect national moral value’’. However, local activists and human rights groups say the detentions are part of a state crackdown against the LGBT community. Much of the situation with respect to the detainees remains unclear.
Op 9 maart organiseerde de FMS een Politiek Café in Studio/K in Amsterdam over mensenrechten aan de randen van Europa. Buitenlandwoordvoerder van de PvdA, Michiel Servaes, en Europarlementariër Kati Piri gingen in gesprek met diverse mensenrechtenactivisten en woordvoerders van minderheden.
On April 5th a ceasefire was reached between Azerbaijan and separatist forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. On April 2nd intense fighting broke out in the Armenian populated Nagorno-Karabakh enclave inside Azerbaijan. Although this is not the first violation of the truce, signed in 1994 by both Armenia and Azerbaijan, it looked like a full-scale war with tanks and drones marking a significant difference from the previous gunfire incidents over the years.
During the Easter weekend we organized a training seminar in Armenia that focused on the gap between politics on the one hand, and citizen’s initiatives and social movements on the other. This training took place in the light of a two-years project between FMS and Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS). In addition, progressive partners from 14 EU neighbouring countries contribute to the project. In Armenia our partner Forum for 21st Century Leaders selected 18 participants after an open call that resulted in over one hundred applications.
An Azerbaijani journalist Rasim Aliyev, age 30, died from internal bleeding in a Baku hospital on August 9 after being beaten the previous day by what he said was a group of supporters of the Qabala FK soccer player Cavid Huseynov. Aliyev said he was attacked due to the criticism he made of Huseynov on his Facebook page. Police have detained several suspects, including Huseynov’s cousin Elsan Ismayilov. Sport for Rights called Aliyev's death a "murder" that shows "critical voices are at greater risk now than ever before". The incident has hit the rock-bottom when it comes to human rights situation in Azerbaijan.
Afgelopen weekend organiseerden we samen met de VVD en CDA een multipartijentraining in Armenië, voor jonge en veelbelovende Armeense politici en activisten. De trainers van de FMS, VVD en CDA kregen een diverse groep voor zich die bestond uit actieve jongeren vanuit 7 verschillende Armeense partijen.
Sinds 19 juni wordt er geprotesteerd in de Armeense hoofdstad Yerevan en sinds 22 juni gebeurt dit non-stop: demonstranten blijven dag en nacht op straat, spelen muziek en maken schoon onder het toeziend oog van de ME. Een poging om ze uiteen te drijven heeft er alleen toe geleid dat zich nóg meer mensen bij het protest aansloten. Buitenlandse media vergeleken de protesten al snel met de Oekraïnse Maidan, iets waar de demonstranten niet blij mee zijn. Via alle mogelijke kanalen laten ze de wereld weten: dit is geen revolutie, we zijn niet uit op een Maidan.
Under the hashtag ElectricYerevan Armenian protestors today have continued what is one of the largest protests in Armenia’s capital in recent years. A day earlier over 200 protestors and journalists were arrested as they were marching towards the presidential palace, which the police tried to prevent by forming a barricade on one of Yerevan’s main roads, Baghramyan avenue.
The fugitive Tajik opposition leader Umarali Kuvvatov has been shot dead in Istanbul, Turkey. He was wanted by Dushanbe on fraud charges that were, as he said, politically motivated. Kuvvatov was an outspoken critic of current Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon. He has recently accused Rakhmon of corruption and nepotism.
The breakaway region of Abkhazia has held early presidential elections on Sunday, August 24th. Allegations of corruption and misrule had forced the former President Aleksandr Ankvab to resign in early June, consequently rescheduling the date of presidential elections from 2016 to August 2014. The election of a KGB academy graduate has raised concern from the European Union and Georgia about the Kremlin’s involvement in the area.