PAST EVENT: 11 June: Focus on Azerbaijan – Silenced Voices
11 June: Focus on Azerbaijan - Silenced Voices
24 Apr 12

Public Meeting
6.30–8.00pm, Monday, 11 June 2012
Committee Room 9, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
To attend please RSVP to [email protected]
Kirsty Hughes, Chief Executive, Index on Censorship
Emin Milli, Azerbaijani dissident, blogger and writer; former prisoner of conscience
Gerald Knaus, Founding Chairman, European Stability Initiative
Murad Gassanly, Director, Azerbaijan Democratic Association-UK

In May 2012 Azerbaijan played host to the annual Eurovision Song Contest. The event brought unprecedented international media attention to the country and the many problems it is facing – from the ongoing conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno Karabakh region to the dire human rights situation and corruption. The government of President Ilham Aliev came under sustained criticism from domestic and international human rights and pro-democracy organisations over the issue of political prisoners, multiple violations of property rights, persecution of independent and opposition journalists, systemic violations of freedom of assembly and expression, and widespread corruption.

Can the situation in Azerbaijan change? Will the new interest and attention to the country translate into meaningful support for human rights in Azerbaijan? What can the international community and civil society do to facilitate democratic transformation in Azerbaijan, especially in view of major public relations and lobbying effort by President Aliev’s regime in Britain, wider Europe and the US?

By kind invitation of Paul Flynn MP, Azerbaijan Democratic Association-UK is pleased to invite you to a discussion of these and other issues, with Kirsty Hughes, Chief Executive of Index on Censorship, Emin Milli, Azerbaijani writer, blogger and dissident, former prisoner of conscience, Gerald Knaus, Founding Chairman and analyst with the European Stability Initiative, and  Murad Gassanly, ADA-UK director.

TIME: 6.30pm – 8.00pm

DATE: 11 June 2012

VENUE: Committee Room 9, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

To attend please RSVP to: [email protected]


Kirsty Hughes is the newly appointed Chief Executive of Index on Censorship. Her distinguished career has taken her from Chatham House to the IPPR and the European Commission. More recently, she was head of Global Public Policy and Advocacy at Oxfam. Currently Senior Associate Fellow, at the Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford, Kirsty is also an experienced writer, policy analyst and journalist who has written extensively on European and international politics.

Emin Milli is a prominent Azerbaijani human rights campaigner and pro-democracy advocate. Writer, blogger and dissident, Emin is an outspoken critic of corruption and authoritarianism, and a former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, having spent 17 months in prison in Azerbaijan on politically-motivated charges. He is about to complete his Masters at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Gerald Knaus is founding chairman of the European Stability Initiative (ESI). He is a founding member of the European Council on Foreign Relations and Associate Fellow at the Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, where he lectured on state building and intervention as a Visiting Fellow in 2010/2011. Recently ESI published the report Caviar Diplomacy: How Azerbaijan Silenced the Council of Europe, available on

Murad Gassanly is the Director of ADA-UK. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics and holds a Masters degree in International Relations from the School of European Studies, Cardiff University. He is currently studying for PhD at Cardiff University.