Oil-rich Azerbaijan’s IDPs stuck in student accommodation 20 years after displacement

Thousands of IDPs have lived up to ten-to-a-room in rundown former student halls for nearly 20 years.

Thousands of IDPs have lived up to ten-to-a-room in rundown former student halls for nearly 20 years.

Living with your parents, partner and kids until you can afford to move out can be stressful for the most harmonious of families.

Doing so for years with one room between you to eat, sleep and relax in is psychologically damaging.

But that is the reality for thousands of Internally Displaced People in Azerbaijan who were promised new homes for years by the oil-rich state before it spent the best part of a billion dollars on new trophy buildings, roads and gardens to impress the world in the run-up to Eurovision.

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Azeri activists look to past for vision of a democratic future

Opposition party supporters and activists gather to remember Mammad Rasulzade who oversaw Azerbaijan’s first truly independent and democratic period between 1918 and 1920

AS the high of holding the Eurovision Song Contest turns into a hangover, Azerbaijanis could be forgiven for their independence day celebrations appearing somewhat muted.

But in a small village 50km from the capital Baku several hundred people gathered before a statue of the man who symbolises their hopes for the future.

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Can Eurovision be a tool for change as Azeri HR activists cash in on media attention

Azerbaijan is using Eurovision to nation-brand in its bid to be the next Dubai, but at what expense?

Eurovision has long been subject to ridicule by much of western Europe with its trashy and manufactured pop considered far below our musical tastes with audiences consisting of largely excitable teenage girls and members of the gay community.

But as this year’s competition in Azerbaijan is used as a platform by human rights and pro-democracy campaigners to highlight abuses largely ignored by the western media until now, should the conscientious among us be taking it a little more seriously as a tool for change?

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Azeri government cracks down on freedom of expression

Police arrest and disperse activists on the pro-democracy demo in Baku

22nd May 2012

Dozens of pro-democracy campaigners were arrested in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, yesterday as they took part in an unauthorised protest to highlight human rights abuses in the run-up to Eurovision.

The Sing for Democracy campaign, which organised the rally outside the old city, also called on performers to speak out during live performances and interviews against the lack of political and media freedom the country endures.

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