Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken released the Department of State’s “2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” on March 30, 2021.
The report highlights Azerbaijan’s significant “human rights issues” including: “unlawful or arbitrary killing; torture; arbitrary detention; harsh and sometimes life-threatening prison conditions; political prisoners; arbitrary interference with privacy; politically motivated reprisal against individuals outside the country; pervasive problems with the independence of the judiciary; heavy restrictions on free expression, the press, and the internet, including violence against journalists, the criminalization of libel and slander, harassment and incarceration of journalists on questionable charges, and blocking of websites; substantial interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association; restrictions on freedom of movement; severe restrictions on political participation; systemic government corruption; police brutality against individuals based on sexual orientation; and existence of the worst forms of child labor.”
The report emphasizes “significant human rights issues connected with the Nagorno-Karabakh [Artsakh] armed conflict included unlawful killings, civilian casualties, and inhuman treatment.”
The report points out the Azerbaijani regime who instigated the war on Artsakh and promoted such actions failed to “prosecute or punish the majority of officials who committed human rights abuses; impunity remained a problem.”
The annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – the Human Rights Reports – cover internationally recognized individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international agreements. The U.S. Department of State submits reports on all countries receiving assistance and all United Nations member states to the U.S. Congress in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Trade Act of 1974.