Stay in the loop.
X

Azerbaijan: Challenges to migrants and asylum seekers from the oil-rich state

Article by Dr Leila Alieva

December 4, 2017

Azerbaijan: Challenges to migrants and asylum seekers from the oil-rich state

Political migration from Azerbaijan during the last decade was consistently on the rise due to the increasingly authoritarian rule in the country, boosted by high world oil prices. The cautious approach to the empowerment of democratic institutions in the country by Europe out of fear of losing an important energy supplier to European markets contributed to the resilience of this political system[1]. The most recent flow of political migration from Azerbaijan was a result of the infamous crackdown on civil society by the authorities in 2014, which coincided with the major flow of refugees to Europe from the Middle East. To get hold of the emigres or to control their activities abroad, the Azerbaijani authorities are using various means, including international instruments, such as Interpol and taking advantage of the economic dependence of neighbouring states on energy-rich Azerbaijan. The survival and activities of migrants after leaving the country has been under increasing pressure from geopolitical factors, such as the strategic nature of relations between states with common interests in the region, based on energy projects and security, reflected in threats of deportations, extraditions or abductions, even in the relatively democratic Georgia; growing authoritarian trends in the major regional powers of Russia and Turkey; and limited resources due to the increased flow of refugees and migrants from the Middle East to the EU and other Western states. The protection and safety of refugees and asylum seekers has been a test of resilience of the international norms and values to which most countries have formally signed up to.

 

Reasons for asylum seeking: Economic and political conditions in Azerbaijan

The Azerbaijani statistics show the number of people who left the country for permanent residency abroad from 2014 to 2017 more than doubled. According to a report on asylum seekers in Germany, in these years the number of asylum applications increased threefold[2]. Azerbaijan made only partial use of its resource advantage – rich oil and gas deposits. The country did not escape the faith of ‘Dutch disease ’[3]. After the successful establishment of macroeconomic stability in the mid-90s, the government did not succeed in translating impressive economic growth into decent social indicators and by 2016 Azerbaijan was characterised by one of the lowest average salaries among former Soviet republics, being behind even resource-poor neighbouring republics[4]. The economic growth, boosted by high oil prices, was accompanied by a steady decline in the country’s democracy and human rights record.

 

The major political reasons for migration from the country have been the government policies of discrimination against opposition groups and the suppression of dissent as part of a consistent trend of encroaching on major freedoms. The restrictions of major freedoms, both at the level of policy and legislation which coincided with high world oil prices and the arrival of major oil revenues directly affected the power of society to resist and after a long period of persecution of political activists and journalists, eventually made NGOs also vulnerable to the government crackdown on civil society in 2014 by President  Ilham Aliyev, resulting in dozens of leading human rights and other NGOs being shut down, bank accounts frozen, some of their leaders being arrested, some having escaped abroad, while others staying in the country unable to leave due to  imposed travel bans. The significant scale of election fraud, as well as increasingly limited freedoms, such as freedom of association, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, both at policy and legislative levels were factors contributing to the weakening of the opposition. Besides being the subject of unjustified arrest, torture or harassment, political and civil society activists and journalists were frequently fired from their jobs, or encountered extreme difficulties finding jobs due to their political affiliation. Most importantly, the government applied the principle of collective responsibility, meaning that the family members of the activists were subject to the same measures of punishment or discrimination[5]. The authorities often used threats against family members/children of the activists as means of exerting pressure on them – that is why some of them tried to send their children abroad to enable them to be freer in their opposition or human rights activities[6]. The major characteristics of the persecution of activists have been exceedingly high prison sentences, the resistance of authorities to the decisions of and pressure from international bodies and multilateral institutions, torture and beatings, in some cases resulting in deaths in prison[7].

 

A special category of persecuted activists are women. Besides arrests on bogus charges, the government extensively uses smear campaigns against women[8], using the conservative traditions of the predominantly Muslim community, although it is relatively secular overall. Women activists are particularly vulnerable to psychological pressure, usually involving the illegal recording of private lives by cameras installed in their apartments, serving as an additional source of trauma, which affects their families and the psychological health of their children[9].

 

The foreign funding of NGOs, that before the Ukraine ‘EuroMaydan’ events worked in favour of activists’ political and financial empowerment, has turned into a disadvantage and made them targets of government persecution since 2014. A few criminal cases, opened against NGOs caused a new wave of emigration of civil society activists. The geography of where emigres initially went varied – Georgia, Turkey, Ukraine, but none of them proved to be a safe hub for the emigres of Azerbaijan.

 

Geopolitics and its influence on deportations and extraditions

Azerbaijan quickly gained its importance in the post-Soviet period due to its role as an alternative energy supplier to Western markets and the extensive investments in the energy and infrastructure sector by major multinational corporations such as BP, Chevron, UNOCAL, STAOIL, etc. The major energy regional and international infrastructure projects involving neighbours, especially Georgia and Turkey, cemented the already strategically close foreign policy orientations of the three states. At the same time, relations with Azerbaijan, which was a crucial energy supplier and evolved into one of the major investors in these countries’ economies influenced the situation with regard to political refugees and dissidents. For instance, the close relations of Aliyev and Saakashvili affected the plans of the Azerbaijani opposition National Council to hold a meeting in Tbilisi during the last half year of Saakashvili’s term in office and it was cancelled[10].

 

In April 2014 Rauf Mirgadirov the correspondent and critical columnist of one of the major independent newspapers Ayna/Zerkalo, was deported from Turkey only to be detained in the airport in Baku and locked in solitary confinement for nearly two years by the National Security Agency on charges of ‘espionage’ in favour of neighbouring Armenia, with whom Azerbaijan is in conflict. He has lived and worked as a correspondent in Turkey since 2010, but did not seek asylum and his accreditation was valid until the end of 2014. As his deportation took place after the visit of Turkey’s then Prime Minster Erdogan to Baku, concerns were raised that the cancellation of the accreditation and deportation were agreed upon at the highest political level[11].

 

Over the last few years the Azerbaijani leadership has been in cooperation with the Turkish authorities, united by the common perception that the sources of the regional ‘revolutions’ are in the US or Europe, exchanging information about Gulenist ‘agents’ and independent NGOs, the latter whom official media in Azerbaijan call a fifth column of the West, fearing repetition of the Ukrainian events of EuroMaydan. As a result of this cooperation a few people from the Azerbaijani government were sacked after the Gezi Park protests in 2013. The second campaign was undertaken after the failed coup in Turkey in 2016 – most of the Gulen-supported institutions, private universities and newspapers in Azerbaijan were shut down, or changed their source of funding. Some prominent opposition activists were arrested, being unjustifiably blamed as ‘Gulenist agents’[12].

 

No less vulnerable vis-à-vis pressures resulting from strategic relations between the states in the region appeared to be the political migrants who escaped to a nearest safe destination – neighbouring Georgia. For many activists who fled the country in 2014 this was a first safe shelter, although for most of them only temporary. Yet, for some this appeared to be a place of prolonged stay. Dashgin Aghalarli, an activist from the opposition Musavat party, who escaped from Azerbaijan in 2014, was arrested on the Georgian border at the request of the Azerbaijani authorities as a ‘tax evader’, and spent 6 months in a Georgian prison. The decision on granting him asylum dragged on for almost two years, revealing the dilemmas which the Georgian government was caught in. The uncertainty of the legal status and absence of protection kept the asylum seeker in security and financial limbo, with inevitable consequences for his health, his financial situation and the wellbeing of his dependents, as apart from short term and inconsistent support from NGOs, there was no other support. In March 2017 the Tbilisi City Court of Appeals denied him asylum and he was notified to leave the country in one month. At the same time UNHCR, instead of offering a shelter in the third country, suggested that he apply for temporary residence in Georgia.

 

A series of persecutions of Azerbaijanis who resided or found refuge in Georgia started after the publication by a pro-government website of an article about ‘underground activities’ in Tbilisi[13]. On 20 May Georgian authorities arrested the head of a Tbilisi-based clinic Lancet, Prof. Farman Jeyranli, who was an Azerbaijani surgeon[14], while the Azerbaijani government on the 25 May 2017 arrested the deputy chairwoman of the Popular Front Party, Gozel Bayramli, upon return from her treatment in Georgia, who was a patient of that clinic. All, along with a journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, were mentioned in the article on the news website.

 

The general situation of Azerbaijani refugees in Georgia became high profile, when on 29th May 2017 Afghan Mukhtarli was abducted near his place of residence in Georgia and taken to Azerbaijan to be prosecuted. Although the journalist had earlier reported that he was often monitored, the process of abduction rather than the use of the official procedures of extradition or deportation came as a surprise to all, including the victim itself. The illegal capture of the journalist from a country praised for its democratic achievements, was an unprecedented case for Georgia and led to both a significant domestic and international outcry, including a resolution by the European Parliament[15]. While the resolution  urged the Georgian government to investigate the case, the journalist’s wife Leyla Mustafayeva commented that during the investigation it appeared that hardly any street, shop or other cameras appeared to be properly working on the  on the day of abduction[16], which cast doubts about the effectiveness of the investigation. She tied the abduction of Afgan Mukhtarli to his journalistic investigation of President Aliyev’s family business in Georgia. There were increased difficulties with obtaining status and permits in Georgia, for the migrants connected with the political situation in the country. In his interview before his arrest Afghan Mukhtarli stressed that the situation for them worsened after the 2016 Georgian parliamentary elections, when the dominating majority of the seats was won by the ruling Georgian Dream Party[17]. The refusal to grant asylum to Azerbaijani migrants was justified by the authorities as ‘threats to the national interests and security’. This attitude was extended even to the visitors to the country, who already obtained their status in Europe. The rapper and producer for the critical Meydan TV Jamal Ali was denied entry to Georgia and had to return back to Berlin[18].

 

Ukraine did not appear to be a safe haven for Azerbaijani migrants either. Azerbaijan sent five requests to Ukraine for extradition in 2015, and four in 2016[19]. In July 2016 the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Ukraine signed an agreement on cooperation in several areas, including the arms trade, oil transportation and support to Azerbaijani investors in Ukraine, as well as supporting each other’s territorial integrity. This context of relations affected the security of Azerbaijani asylum seekers who were coming and temporarily living in Ukraine.

 

For instance, a former employee of the Ministry of Interior, Emin Ahmedbekov, who was arrested on trumped up charges for three years and after being released left the country for Ukraine with his wife, who was also fired from her job in the same ministry. The authorities however continued their pressure[20] and the couple had to move from one place to another while in Ukraine, as Azerbaijan security agents found and threatened them. Ukraine in turn refused asylum to the Ahmedbekovs[21]. After that the family left for Bulgaria, but it also refused to grant them asylum. Eventually, after 3 years they were given a humanitarian visa to live in France.

 

On a few occasions Azerbaijani authorities have used Interpol channels to get hold of people who escaped persecution: for example the author of the campaign Do Not Keep Silence (Susma in Azerbaijani), a businessman Huseyn Abdullayev was searched abroad on a red notice of Interpol, as well as the ex-deputy defence minister Isa Sadiqov[22].

 

It is mainly due to the low probability of getting refugee status, the lack of safety and uncertainty with regard to protection guarantees (both legal and physical), that these states in the region evolved to make them an unlikely place of permanent asylum for refugees from Azerbaijan, with the case of abduction of Afghan Mukhtarli in Georgia, or the monitoring of the Ahmedbekovs in Ukraine as its convincing evidence. The only case of granting asylum in Georgia is that of Vidadi Iskandarli. These cases are taking place in spite of all three states- Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine – being members of the Council of Europe and parties to international conventions obliging them to protect the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.

 

European states and asylum seekers

The average of the number of asylum seekers in the EU (per 1,000 population) in 2016 was 2.4. The UK scores quite low (0.6) especially compared to Germany (8.4), Austria (4.8) and Malta (4.5). Overall, there are 18 countries who are higher than the UK. The UK is also more likely not to grant refugee status compared to some other countries[23]. A study by the Guardian, which analysed the experience of refugees and asylum seekers in 5 big nations (the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy) concluded that the UK does not compare well with France, Germany and Spain. It takes fewer refugees, offers less generous financial support, provides substandard housing, does not give asylum seekers the right to work, punishing even those who volunteer, ‘and routinely forces people into destitution and even to homelessness, when they are granted refugee status due to bureaucratic delays’[24].

 

In addition, the grant rate in the UK is also low – as of the first quarter of 2016 it reached only 28% against the average grant rate in Europe of 63-65%[25].

 

Thus the general trend of applications for asylum in the UK has been in decline, with Azerbaijanis being no exception. The number of applications by Azerbaijanis dropped from 164 in 2002 (only 9 were granted asylum status) to 18 in 2016[26]. In 2016, of the 18 applications by asylum seekers from Azerbaijan, only two were granted asylum. The overflow of migrants from the Middle East has also affected the situation with South Caucasus asylum seekers in Europe. The European Union returned 485 people in 2015 and 625 in 2016 to Azerbaijan[27]. This is compared to Georgia: returns from the EU – 3,140 in 2015 and 3,360 in 2016.

 

The Azerbaijani Turan agency, referring to the German edition of the RP-online.de, reported that Germany began the mass deportation of migrants from Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan through the airport in Dusseldorf, announcing that 23,750 migrants would be deported before November 2017[28].

 

The case of ‘N’ in the UK, a young Azerbaijani opposition activist who asked for asylum in 2014 after a major crackdown on civil society, is indicative of the challenges in the asylum seeking process in Britain. N had left Azerbaijan, when he was searched by police after one of the protest meetings. His other male family members were also the target of persecution for a few years. None of his applications for asylum in the UK were satisfied. The Home Office said that he was a junior member of the political party and was not under threat deemed sufficient to be granted asylum. The decision however did not take into account the peculiarities of politics in the country, some of which are mentioned above. Arrests and detentions in Azerbaijan are often unpredictable in character, and relatively minor violations of law can be used as a pretext for punishment with very high sentences, as in the case of two young activists who were sentenced to 10 years each for graffiti[29].

 

In addition, the government usually puts pressure on political activists, journalists and human rights defenders by means of threatening their children. As N was from the family of the political activist of the governing body of the leading opposition party, he was exposed to government pressure, as a member of the same party. Having exhausted the benefits of legal aid as a result of his failed claims and while waiting to file a fresh claim, N had to work to support himself in a restaurant, but was detained by immigration officers, who were inspecting the restaurant. He was put in the Brook House Immigration Removal Centre of the Gatwick Detention Centre, which is a place for the detention of immigrants with a criminal record[30]. For the young man, who showed outstanding talent at school and was committed to the struggle for democracy since an early age, to share a cell with people with actual criminal records was shocking, especially considering his previous issues with depression. He was provided with a free solicitor, and visited by the representatives of the Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group[31], who helped him with advice and softened the trauma. Facing the dilemma of a prolonged stay in Brook house or being deported, he agreed to be deported by the Assisted Voluntary Return scheme [32] after two and a half years of asylum seeking in the UK. While N due to a mixture of precautions and luck managed to reach home safely, he had to undertake prolonged medical treatment and both his father, family and himself remain exposed to the threat of further persecution. One should also consider that political activists, especially the young, working in authoritarian regimes like Azerbaijan usually have high expectations regarding the attitudes and capacity to sympathise with their plight in states with established democracies such as the United Kingdom, which sometimes contrasts with reality. While the issue of the safety of asylum seekers is more real for those trying to seek refuge in the states of the Former Soviet Union, journalists in exile reported about indicators of plans by the Azerbaijan authorities of the assassination of the active blogger and journalist Habib Muntazir in Berlin, who by that time had acquired German citizenship[33].

 

In the UK political refugees from Azerbaijan face the necessity of finding a high quality lawyer, suffer the challenges of the waiting period, when they are not allowed to work, have insufficient knowledge of the language, and have to rely on the expertise of the Home Office if they are detained. The issue is also complicated by the reported cases of fraud, when asylum seeking is managed by illegal groups, benefitting mainly the economic migrants, who manage to acquire fake IDs of membership of the opposition parties and tourist visas mainly through the Central and Eastern European states’ embassies[34].

 

An alternative route is the provision of temporary refuge, such as for scholars at risk who are usually taken care of by CARA (Council for at Risk Academics) – the oldest and prominent organisation in the UK, which has been helping academics who have fled persecution in their home countries since the 1930s[35]. While creating unique opportunities for the persecuted scholars to be based in the best universities in the UK for up to 2 years, it is struggling with limited funding as compared to the funding for scholars being placed in US universities by organisations such as the Scholars Rescue Fund, while the number of recipients in the UK is steadily increasing. For instance, after an inflow of refugees from the Middle East in 2014, CARA in 2016, as a result of the failed coup in Turkey, had to deal with another inflow of academics, who managed to leave the country before the travel ban was imposed. Besides the limited funding, the immigration rules of the UK are strict regarding family members of the temporary residing scholars. For instance while the definition of dependents includes spouses and children but it does not normally include the parents, however there is a clause regarding adult dependent relatives for ‘British citizens, persons settled in the UK, or those with refugee leave and humanitarian protection’[36], which is not extended to the holders of the other type of visas. This does not take into account the collective responsibility principle applied by the authorities in persecution, and also when persecuted activists (women more frequently) are the only caretakers of their parent(s), especially if the parent is ill and weak, this makes it impossible for the parent dependent on the academic to accompany him/her and forces the academic to leave the old person behind without any support and care, as it allows only a visitor visa which is limited to 90 days. This puts before the scholar a hard moral dilemma. Some other problems also include a short term solution to the problems, discouragement of asylum seeking during the time of support and extreme uncertainty about the fate of the scholar after a maximum of two years of fellowship, if the situation in the home country does not change, although the organisation suggests all possible assistance in finding jobs as a long term solution.

 

Conclusions and recommendations

After the end of the Cold War, Azerbaijan did not avoid the trap of the energy dependent economy and developed into a non-free state. The Soviet legacy and the geopolitical challenges combined with the windfall of oil revenues contributed to the regime strengthening its grip on power and increasing its pressure on dissent. The prioritisation of energy and security interests by Europe and the US in their foreign policy, including Azerbaijan positioning itself as an important actor in their energy security and as an economic and transportation hub in the region also contributed to the worsening of the political situation. The latter in turn resulted in growing flows of outmigration and numbers of asylum seekers.  In spite of being parties to international conventions, the states in the region hosting political refugees were prioritising their bilateral relations with Azerbaijan, often at the expense of the safety and protection of refugees, which resulted in deportations, extradition or even the abduction of asylum seekers. The regional dynamics of relations between these states has so far has overpowered their commitments to international conventions. While the situation in European states is better, the still high percentage of refusals and deportations of asylum seekers exposes some deportees to the high risk of persecution at home.

 

The following recommendations follow from this study for those countries receiving migrants and asylum seekers from Azerbaijan and more widely, the international community:

  • Particular attention should be paid to political opposition, journalists, and civil society representatives, as many of them, being promoters of the democratic and liberal values, are staunch critics of the regime and represent a special target for the authorities.
  • Due to the dependence on energy-rich Azerbaijan and strategic cooperation with each other on energy and security issues, asylum seekers are particularly vulnerable in the states of the post-Soviet region. Special attention should be paid to states in the FSU region and countries should be held responsible for their actions in cases of the extradition and deportation of asylum seekers.
  • Deportations and extraditions of activists should be prevented where possible, and the fate of asylum seekers should be monitored by international organisations and local and international NGOs.
  • Mobilise donor aid to help refugees waiting for status applications while temporarily residing in the countries of the FSU.
  • Review the legislation in the UK to allow asylum seekers to work while awaiting the outcome of their decisions.
  • Amend the legislation regarding the granting long term visas to adult dependent relatives of visa holders in the UK, supported as scholars or activists at risk who have caring responsibilities.
  • Increase financial support to the organisations taking care of asylum seekers and scholars and activists at risk such as aid NGOs, human rights NGOs and CARA.

 

[1] “In Azerbaijan, EU focuses on energy instead of democracy” by Roman Goncharenko, Deutche Welle Europe, 08.10.2013 http://www.dw.com/en/in-azerbaijan-eu-focuses-on-energy-instead-of-democracy/a-17145518

[2] Report. Prepared on the basis of the survey on the occasion of the World Day of Refugees of Azerbaijani migrants to Germany, 20 July 2017, LEGAT Integration Center, in cooperation with Azerbaijan Culture and Sport Society and Integration and Development Center.

[3] Guliyev, Farid, Azerbaijan’s Uneasy Transition to the Post-Oil Era. Domestic and International Constraints, PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo, May 2017. http://www.ponarseurasia.org/sites/default/files/policy-memos-pdf/Pepm475_Guliyev_May2017_2.pdf

[4] Economic Notes, Average Monthly Salary in the Former Soviet Union Republics, 09.08.2016, Reinis Fischer, https://www.reinisfischer.com/average-monthly-salary-former-soviet-union-republics-2016

[5] Family members remaining in Azerbaijan of a few activists and journalists, who continued their activities abroad were pressed or arrested; of Emin Milli and Gunel Movlud of “ Meydan TV”,  Ganimed Zahid of “Azerbaijan Saati”, activist Ordukhan Temirkhan, etc.

[6] The daughter of a prominent human rights defender Leyla Yunus, for instance, was granted asylum in the Netherlands after her mother received threats in her daughter’s address. ‘Europe is Closing its Eyes to Human Rights: Daughter of Jailed Activist Leyla Yunus Pleads for Help’ by Kayleen Devlin, November 7, 2014, vice news, https://news.vice.com/article/europe-is-closing-its-eyes-to-human-rights-daughter-of-jailed-azerbaijan-activist-leyla-yunus-pleads-for-help.

[7] The journalist and blogger Mehman Galandarov was found hanged in his cell on 28th April 2017. ‘The rapporteurs call for investigation into the death in prison of Azerbaijani blogger’ Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe, News, 04/05/2017. http://www.assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/News/News-View-EN.asp?newsid=6631&lang=2&cat=9

[8] For instance,  video cameras were installed in the apartment of the prominent female journalist Khadija Ismayilova with recordings used in smear campaign to make her stop the series of investigative articles with regard to the private business of the President’s family.

[9] Similar cases of blackmail were reported to the author by a few women activists, who emigrated in 2014.

[10] Is Georgia Still Safe for Azerbaijani Refugees? By Lamiya Adilgizi, 24 May 2017, Open Democracy, https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/lamiya-adilgizi/is-georgia-still-safe-for-azerbaijani-dissidents.

[11] Turkey/Azerbaijan: Journalist Deported, Imprisoned. Baku should Free Reporter, Ankara Should Investigate Expulsion, Human Rights Watch, April 24, 2014. https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/04/24/turkey/azerbaijan-journalist-deported-imprisoned

[12] “Azerbaijan Continues Anti-Gulen Campaign” by Afgan Mukhtarli, IWPR, 2 Sept.2016, https://iwpr.net/global-voices/azerbaijan-continues-anti-gulen-campaign

[13] Anti-Azerbaijani Underground in Tbilisi:  Secret Addresses, Money, Instructions. By Eynulla Fatullayev, 4 May 2017, Haggin.az ( in Russian) https://haqqin.az/comics/99120

[14] As article on the website of the channel 1 of Georgian TV “City Court Discussing the Case of Lancet Clinic’s Director” reports,  the charges which were brought against Farman Jeyranli are “ misappropriation of money from the patient through swindling and conceal of information about threat to life and death” 23.05.2017, http://1tv.ge/en/news/view/162023.html.

[15] European Parliament Resolution on the case of Afghan Mukhtarli and the situation of media in Azerbaijan (2017/2722(RSP) http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=%2F%2FEP%2F%2FTEXT%2BMOTION%2BB8-2017-0414%2B0%2BDOC%2BXML%2BV0%2F%2FEN&language=EN

[16] The wife of Afgan Mukhtarli is unhappy with the investigation being conducted by the Georgian police, Turan news agency, 12 July 2017, http://www.contact.az/indexc_ru.html

[17] Now Georgia is also not  a safe place for us anymore” by Vugar Behmenzade, May 26 2017, Voice of America ( in Azerbaijani) https://www.amerikaninsesi.org/a/efqan-muxtarli-musahibe/3870872.html

[18] Is Georgia Still Safe For Azerbaijani Dissidents? By Lamiya Adilgizi, Open Democracy, ODR, Russia and Beyond, 24 May 2017, https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/lamiya-adilgizi/is-georgia-still-safe-for-azerbaijani-dissidents

[19] Ukraine Helps Post-Soviet States to Persecute Political Opponents and Refugees. Realizing illegal extraditions, violating rights of refugees, Ukrainian authorities assist political persecutions in Moldova, Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Belarus (2014-2016), Open Dialogue Foundation, Kiev, 12.12.2016 ( in Russian).

[20] Ahmedbekov filed appeals to the European Court for Human Rights on a few occasions.

[21] See 19.

[22] Famous people who are searched through Interpol, Bizim yol, 12.10.2016 http://brifinq.com/news/interesting/30275-interpolun-axtardigi-askarda-olan-taninmislar (in Azerbaijani)

[23] Asylum Seekers in Europe, Refugee Council. Information. March 2017, p.3-4.

https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/assets/0004/0083/Asylum_in_Europe_March_2017.pdf

[24] Britain is one of the worst places in Western Europe for asylum seekers, Kate Lyons, Eva Thone in Hamburg, Stephanie Kirschgaessner in Rome, Marilyne Baumard in Paris, Nayra Galrraga in Madrid, The Guardian, Wednesday 1st March, 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/01/britain-one-of-worst-places-western-europe-asylum-seekers

[25] Ibid.

[26] How many people do we grant asylum or protection to? National Statistics, Home Office. Published 27 May 2017, Asylum table, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-january-to-march

[27] Deportation global information project. Global Statistics, Azerbaijan, 2017, http://postdeportation.org/statistics/

[28] German Authorities Deport Citizens of South Caucasus Countries, Turan agency, Baku, 04.07.17.

[29] Giyas Ibrahimov and Bahram Mammadov were sentenced each for 10 years in prison on the bogus charges of drug possession after they made a critical graffiti on the statue of the father of the current President in 2016.Both are recognised as prisoners of conscience by  Amnesty International. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/10/azerbaijan-ten-years-in-jail-for-youth-activist-who-sprayed-graffiti-is-a-travesty-of-justice/

[30] Brook House has 400 male detainees, illegal migrants, mainly ex-prisoners, In 2010 Brook House was recognised as “not safe” https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/jul/12/gatwick-deportation-centre-conditions. In 2013 the inspectors noted “sustained improvement”, while in 2017 expressed concerns that the residential units “very closely resembled a prison”. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-sussex-39221869

[31] Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group – is  a registered charity set up in 1995 with the mission “to improve the welfare and well-being of people in detention by offering friendship and support and advocating for fair treatment” http://www.gdwg.org.uk/aboutus-who.php#.WWuPgI9OJPY

[32] According to the UK immigration rules there are three main categories of the state-enforced or enforceable departures: deportations, administrative removals and voluntary departures. There are three kinds of voluntary departures: by Assisted Voluntary Return Scheme; arranging departure themselves and notifying the authorities; and leaving without notification. Source: Dr. Scott Blinder, Dr. Alexander Betts, “Deportations, Removals and Voluntary Departures from the UK”, Briefing, The Migration Observatory, July 19, 2017.

http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/resources/briefings/deportations-removals-and-voluntary-departures-from-the-uk/

[33] “Emin Milli: EuroGames are PR for the Ruling Family”, by ilyana Ovshiyeva, Meydan TV, source: Deutche Welle, 10 June, 2015. https://www.meydan.tv/en/site/news/6330/

[34] “Escape Into Deception: How the Attempt to Emigrate from Azerbaijan Turns into a  Swindle” Meydan.TV. https://www.meydan.tv/ru/site/opinion/23057/ ( in Russian).

[35] See Cara, http://www.cara.ngo/

[36] Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules: Adult Dependent Relatives. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/576644/Adult_dependent_relatives-review.pdf, Family visas: apply, extend or switch  https://www.gov.uk/uk-family-visa/adult-dependent-relative

Footnotes
    Related Articles