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On respect for ownership in Azerbaijan

Over the last years the standards of human rights protection in Azerbaijan fell considerably. This is manifested not only by limitations of “classic” political rights but also in arbitrary violations of ownership. As part of the “Analysis and Recommendations” series the HFHR has published an opinion statement concerning the issue of respect for the ownership right in Azerbaijan.

The key problem in this area observed in Azerbaijan was the process of expropriation of properties located in Baku for the purposes of revitalisation of certain parts of the Azerbaijani capital (2009-2012). A subsequent turn of expropriations was triggered by the upcoming European Games, which are to be organised in Baku in June 2015. The process violated the fundamental safeguards contained in Article 1 of the Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Other important problems affecting rights of property owners appeared when people resettled from the territory of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic were moved into private apartments, which effectively prevented owners from using their properties. What is more, authorities blocked bank accounts of non-governmental organisations and activists critical of the government in the course of politically biased criminal trials.

“According to the HFHR, the systemic violations of the ownership right in Azerbaijan are a consequence of a governmental policy based on arbitrary actions and the rejection of the standards of the rule of law, which provide for balancing private and public interests”, the statement reads.

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