Azerbaijan: Letter to BP
20 Sep 2014
Rasul Jafarov, Arif Yunus and Leyla Yunus (Photos: Rasul Jafarov (© IRFS), Arif and Leyla Yunus (© HRHN))

Rasul Jafarov, Arif Yunus and Leyla Yunus (Photos: Rasul Jafarov (© IRFS), Arif and Leyla Yunus (© HRHN))

Azerbaijanis are demanding that BP stop supporting repression in their country on the 20th anniversary of the Contract of the Century.

A letter has been sent to BP CEO Bob Dudley to coincide with today’s 20 year anniversary. On 20 September 1994 BP signed a contract with then president Heydar Aliyev to extract Azerbaijani oil. This initiated the oil company’s two-decade relationship with Azerbaijan, providing money and power to Aliyev, which the letter argues, has hindered democracy in the country.

Mirvari Gahramanli, The Oil Workers Right Protection Organisation Union says: “BP is where the president got his power from. What is he without the money? Where is his wealth, where are his police, without BP’s money? The Aliyevs have grown rich from BP and now as a result they have much more power.”

The letter is asking BP to call on the Aliyev government to release all 98 political prisoners currently being detained, and to especially raise the cases of the most recent arrests; Leyla and Arif Yunus, Intigam Aliyev and Rasul Jafarov – who has managed to sign the letter from prison. It also asks that BP remove its sponsorship from the 2015 Baku European Olympic games.

Protesters gathered outside the London headquarters of BP on Wednesday, ahead of today’s anniversary; Azerbaijanis are unable to protest at BP’s offices in Baku as the current level of repression means that taking part in a demonstration could lead to a jail sentence.

Emma Hughes, Platform London says: “We took action this week because Azerbaijani’s are unable to. I am free to stand outside BP – in Azerbaijan such an action would mean arrest. BP are propping up the Aliyev regime. If they are serious about supporting democracy in Azerbaijan they must talk about the country’s 98 political prisoners and end their sponsorship of the 2015 Baku Olympics.”

This article was posted on 20 September 2014 at indexoncensorship.org

2 responses to “Azerbaijan: Letter to BP”

  1. Ali Husaini says:

    You write about Ilham Aliyev’s money, wealth etc. as if you are his personal accountant. You are talking about democracy, Western countries in particular UK, and US governments killed millions and displaced millions in Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of democracy. After more than 10 years these countries are still straggling to build stable and prosperous country. Bombs are going off in market places killing hundreds, including children. Is this the kind of democracy you want in Azerbaijan, if YES, you are the enemy of Azerbaijan. Ilham Alyev is not forever. Time will come for him to go sooner or later. We are talking about the survival of the country as a whole and 9 million people living in it. Azerbaijan is young country, 21 years of independency is not much for a country that was ruled by someone else for 75 years. There are countries in the West, namely UK and US, that have been practicing democracy for 200 years, and they still don’t have 100% democracy. This is a fact, I live in one of these countries and I see it. If you lose the discipline and control, you will have chaos and instability, destruction just like in Iraq if not Libya. Putin and some Western countries want to tear Azerbaijan apart, and control it. And they will do so if the country becomes instable. Democracy is a slow progress and Azerbaijan will get there due course. It will not happen overnight. The corrupt officials will die out soon enough and new young incorrupt generation will take their places. Have patience.

  2. Ali Husaini says:

    Which democracy, human rights are speaking of when the most democratic country in the world has been holding people in Guantanamo prison for over 10 years without trial and charge. What about their human rights. Israel has been massacring women and children in Gaza with impunity, committing War crimes and Western countries (UK, US in particular) the so called defender of human rights and democracy, is silent like a fish in water. What about their human rights or just the right to live. I don’t see UK, US government applying sanctions to Israel. There are 800 thousands refugees in Azerbaijan who were forced to leave their land by Armenia terrorists and child killers. What about their human rights. Why do you not write about them? In actual fact Western media does not care about democracy, human rights etc. in Azerbaijan. All you want to see in Azerbaijan is chaos, instability, demonstrations, riot police running about the streets and firing tear gas on people. You need story, the bloodier the better so that you can sell your paper. You want to click your cameras and stick your microphones onto people faces and humiliate Azerbaijan all over the world. The democracy, human rights are just cover up for you. The show (European games 2015) will go on and it will be best of the best in all respect. Those who are jealous of Azerbaijan progress shall die of that in their sleep.