Azerbaijan bulldozers destroy rights groups' offices

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Several buildings belonging to human rights groups in Azerbaijan's capital Baku have been destroyed despite a ruling by a local court prohibiting the move.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights or OHCHR is calling on the authorities to investigate the demolitions.

The buildings destroyed belonged to the Institute of Peace and Democracy and two other non-profit groups, including the only women's shelter in Baku.

City officials allegedly refused to allow the occupants to remove their equipment and files before bulldozers carried out the demolition.

OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville says the government must guarantee safe working conditions for human rights defenders.

"Given an increase of worrying reports of forced evictions and destruction of property in Baku, as well as of harassment of human rights defenders, OHCHR called on the authorities of Azerbaijan to thoroughly investigate this case and, if necessary, provide adequate compensation and restitution".

The demolitions that took place on 11 August are part of an urban renewal project.

Duration: 17″

Human rights defenders must be able to work in safety, UN tells Azerbaijan

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