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Not Safe in Her Own Home in Azerbaijan

By Francis Mead

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A brave woman uses a small camera to capture what is happening to her: she discovers she isn’t safe in her own home. (excerpt)

After a year of rumours Nuriya Khalikova was forced from her home – to make way for a new park in the centre of Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku. Because of her film, activists picked up on her case – and now her plight, along with that of hundreds of others, has come to the attention of the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights. The city authorities in Baku say they offered adequate compensation to evicted residents, but Nuriya disputes this.

I travelled to Baku with cameraman Richard Gibb and we filmed there before the story made international headlines. We found Nuriya to be a strong and articulate woman, a survivor who’s determined to move on with her life.

Nuriya surveys the rubble that used to be her home

Baku itself is booming on the back of Azerbaijan’s plentiful supplies of oil and gas – and the country has seen a huge reduction in poverty over the past decade, as well as a massive increase in construction. We were agog at the chic, very expensive shops in the city centre, and at Baku’s elegant architecture.

Watch out for the full story which we’ll shortly be releasing for 21st Century.

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