Do as we say, not as we do
Tuesday, 13 May 2014 18:24

Few people worry about which country chairs the committee of ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE), a body of 47 European countries, committed to upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law. But with Azerbaijan taking the helm on May 14th, perhaps more should. After all, few European governments have done more to undermine those standards than the regime in Baku.

This is not the first time a repressive government has held the role. Russia’s dismal human rights record did not prevent it from chairing the CoE in 2006, under the slogan “Towards a united Europe without dividing lines”.

Flush with oil and gas revenues, Azerbaijan’s living standards have risen considerably in the last decade. GDP per capita has increased almost sevenfold since 2004, according to the World Bank, and Baku’s glitzy skyline is a world away from the drab, post-Soviet city of the early 1990s. But material progress has come at a cost: rigged elections and Continue reading

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