Don’t expect a top human rights record.
International events such as Eurovision Song Contest and the European Games held in Baku put the country on the map. It also heightened awareness of human rights abuses, with activists, anti government protestors or journalists speaking out against such abuses arrested and human rights NGO’s s shut down. In 2015, an Amnesty International representative was refused entry. Keep an eye on Amnesty International’s
website for updates.
Travelling to the Nagorno-Karabakh region, a disputed territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan, with a history of violence between military forces on both sides, is not recommended
. Although there was a ceasefire in 1994, violent scenarios still occur.
Be prepared for homophobia. Although decriminalised in 2001, little has been done to progress LGBT rights and homophobia is still rife
. For example, in 2011, the Azerbaijani gay artist, Babi Badalov, was given asylum in France because he was under threat of an ‘honour killing’.