World Conference 2030
Addressing the major issues faced around the world.
Azerbaijan is a former Soviet republic and is located between eastern Europe and Western Asia, bordered with Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Iran. They gained their independence from the Turkish Ottoman in 1918 and separated from the USSR in 1991. The focus of this page is to address the ongoing political problems in Azerbaijan through the analysis of human rights, state sovereignty, and political corruption. In Azerbaijan human rights are missing, conflict resolution and land disputes are a norm, and corruption is seen within the oil industry as well as the government. Such fields must be addressed due to the controversy surrounded around such issues.
A major problem faced in Azerbaijan and throughout the world is human rights. Human rights are the equal treatment of all human beings regardless of opinion, nationality, religion, and other characteristics. These rights are interrelated amongst most governments. Recently, in an EU conference in Brussels the problematic treatment of those in Azerbaijan was addressed. According to this report Azerbaijan has detained dozens of journalists, human rights defenders, and other critics of the government (1. HRW). As seen in the report, the Azerbaijani government does not take criticism very well and any expressed opposition or opinion against the government's actions often result in detention or imprisonment. This issue is quite problematic since the freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly is not being complied with , although the country is a member of various human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch. Furthermore, reports suggest that there is a degree of state-authorized violence being carried out amongst those in Azerbaijan giving the police the right to torture, abuse, and use excessive force. Another human rights violation that is prevalent is the fact that many Azerbaijani political prisoners are incarcerated without a trial or any evidence of wrongdoing. After joining the Council of Europe the authorities in Azerbaijan were forced to release close to one hundred political prisoners, however, many remain in custody with absolutely zero proof of wrongdoing and these numbers are only increasing (2. Azeri Report). This strengthens the fact how little respect the government has for the human rights of its citizens, an issue that must be urgently addressed and resolved.
A major conflict that has been a dark past of Azerbaijan has to do with state sovereignty and dispute over a specific territory that significantly compromised the safety and security of Azerbaijan citizens. The conflict began after Armenia and Azerbaijan declared independence on the same day, making claims to territory that they both believed historically and ethnically belonged to them. During the period of USSR control the conflict significantly calmed down, however once both countries declared their independence and the Soviets were no longer controlling the region, the old sentiments over the land were reignited and intensified that led to a full blown war between Azerbaijan and Armenia in 1988 over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Recently, three people were killed in the southern Caucasus mountains as a result of the conflict and such deaths are occurring more and more often each day (3. Mulcaire). It is noted that a major problem throughout the conflict has been failed diplomacy and negotiations attempts centred around unwillingness by both , Azerbaijan and Armenia, to compromise and accept any solution that does not give each party full control. The conflict is progressively becoming more militarized and dangerous as both forces are positioned along a heavily fortified one hundred kilometer border with heavy artillery and land mines separated from each other by only 100 metres (3. Mulcaire). Being in such close proximity, militarily well equipped and emotions running high on both sides the potential loss of lives is quite unthinkable. Even after the cease fire in 1994, hundreds have still died due to exchange of fire across lines and raids. This century old dispute over land must be addressed and compromise must be reached to stop further loss of human lives and instill safety and security to Azerbaijanis especially those living close to the border of the disputed territory.
A major problem faced in Azerbaijan is political corruption where the use of bribery, extortion, and favouritism along with a weak judiciary system with insufficient enforcement contribute to poor business opportunities in the country and less of a fair market competition. The major areas of interest are within the business world and the gas and oil industry. According to the competitiveness report of 2014-2015, corruption is the most problematic factor for doing business in Azerbaijan (4. Business Anti-Corruption Portal). The largest amount of corruption is seen within the government, high-level officials have a large degree of power in the majority of Azerbaijan's private sector. These high-level officials manipulate the market in their favour by delaying and preventing companies from obtaining business licences. Furthermore, government officials are more than willingly to accept an illegal bribe if a company needs a business license rushed. The corruption within the business world has an effect on foreign investment, contributing to a sluggish economy. Azerbaijan has had a large growth in local economy due to the gas and oil industry, however, it is a recurring pattern within the country when there is an opportunity for profit, political corruption will follow. According to a survey conducted by the Nations in Transit the oil and gas industry are believed to be victim of the greatest amount of corruption within Azerbaijan (5. Freedom House). The problem with the industry is that the government controls a majority of the shares in local oil-extracting companies, normally in a fully non-corrupt democracy this would be fine, however, in Azerbaijan this leads to a lack of transparency and accountability. It is also noted that the state owned oil company SOFAZ is under control by the presidential bureau and this results in fraud, bribery and high paying salaries for top officials. Corruption within Azerbaijan has had a great toll on the country's economy and most of all the government's accountability and credibility, this issue must be addressed and stronger legislation must be introduced to protect the citizens and stimulate the economy.
Since Azerbaijan's declaration of independence, it has been struggling to establish a safe and secure environment for its citizens providing stable and healthy economy and fair social order. There are three main issues contributing to a variety of political problems in the country - lack of respect for human rights, a century old dispute over land and government corruption. These issues must be addressed and resolved to allow Azerbaijani citizens to live peacefully and be proud of their country and their government contributing to a healthy social and economic life.
1. "Azerbaijan: EU Leaders Should Insist on Prisoner Releases." Azerbaijan: EU Leaders Should Insist on Prisoner Releases. Web. 8 June 2015.
2. "SEO Header Title." Azerireport.com. Web. 8 June 2015.
3. Mulcaire, Jack. "Face Off: The Coming War between Armenia and Azerbaijan." The National Interest. Web. 8 June 2015.
4. "Azerbaijan Country Profile." Http://visionteam.dk. Business Anti-Corruption Portal. Web. 8 June 2015.
5. "Azerbaijan-Nations in Transit." 2013. Web. 8 June 2015.