Democracy And Freedom | Azerbaijan

To begin this paper, I will define what Democracy is and what Freedom is. In this paper, I will illustrate and evaluate the most challengeable inconveniences that Azerbaijan faces, now more present than ever. Then, I will explain why is Freedom and Democracy are hard to obtain in Azerbaijan and what has been done so far to change the existing authoritarian government.

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Democracy can be defined as a theory, in which the supreme power is established by the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a method of representation. In political theory, democracy depicts a small number of affiliated forms of government and a political philosophy. Democracy comprises two principles- equality and freedom. These principles are portrayed by all citizens being equal before the law, and having equal approach to power where all citizens are promised certain legitimized freedom and liberty, which are mostly protected by a constitution.[1]

Freedom can be classified into two concepts: positive freedom and negative freedom. Positive freedom is freedom to do something rather than freedom from interfering. Negative freedom is a content of options that are open for a person or people in general; it is a matter of X being free to be Z. [2]

In Azerbaijan, there are varieties of political parties representing diverse ideological and policy stages. In this sense, Azerbaijan has achieved one basic feature of pluralistic democratic politics.[3] Political parties in my country, mostly weak and small, and do not play a main role in national political life. A number of influences lead to this weakness. Azerbaijan is a presidential republic, and the constitutional determination of the presidency has been reinforced by the powerful political persona as I. Aliyev. Politics in general remains highly personalized, with few-high-profile individuals dominating the area. The personalizations of politics have gone further in my country, where Aliyev supporters and pro-government press from a sycophants’ refrain to praise the president. In this context, the pro-government parties tent to become vehicles for mobilizing support for the president in parliament, while other parties often serve the same purpose for leading opposition politicians, readily splitting and adjusting to keep up with the regular disputes and divisions that take on a more or less personal level between their leaders. In Azerbaijan, up to date, there are more than 36 political parties:

Pro-government parties (like New Azerbaijan Party) have poorly defined ideological or policy profiles advance the careers of stalwarts.

It is hard to maintain a powerful doctrine in any key positive improvement towards to democracy and freedom in Azerbaijan. The corrupted police state is well set up between all ranks of society that it looks unbreakable.[6] People are used to perceiving elections and oppose within themselves. This is the idea of the civil proposal with deep scepticism and a sense of desperation. Those who talk about or try to act in favour of transformation are devastating their lives chasing the freedom. For example, Equality Party stated in May 2005, in Azerbaijan national radio, that Ehtiram Jalilov- deputy head of Azerbaijan’s National Democratic Party became the second opposition activist to die in unexplained circumstances during the upcoming presidential elections.

In July 2009, Freedom House published results of research that calculated country’s political rights, civil Liberties, and status. Freedom House argues that with the population of 8,700,000, the score of Political Rights Score is six, Civil Liberties is five and the Status is said to be ” Not Free.” In an Overview, Freedom House declares following, “President Ilham Aliyev and the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party further marginalized the political opposition and other institutions of democratic accountability in 2008. The government’s fierce suppression of media freedom was integral to Aliyev’s victory in a controlled presidential election in October.”[7] For example, while Azerbaijan’s constitution promising freedom of speech; the authorities absolutely bound press freedom in reality. Novruzali Mamedov, editor of the newspaper Talyshi Sado “had been in state custody since February 2007, initially on a trumped-up charge of resisting arrest, which was then changed to a treason charge, who died in prison on august 2009.”[8]

Azerbaijan’s authorities primarily do not limit educational freedom. However, my elder brother had practiced political pressure in State University of Azerbaijan. That pressure included reported threats to lower my brother’s grades when he contributed in opposing political activity. Another example is that my father was disregarded as a teacher in college because of his membership in opposition parties.

The government limits freedom of the legislature, especially for opposition parties. Azerbaijan’s government commands key judicial commissions and there is no indication that the court system is capable of bringing the government to book when it behaves unconstitutionally, or securing citizens’ rights against arbitrary government action. Although Azerbaijani legislators have approved several laws to enhance freedom of information, the law of the Azerbaijan Republic grants legislative ground for an independent judiciary, in practice judges do not role independently of the executive branch.[9] The judiciary is corrupt, inefficient, and obedient. Incidental arrests and detention are very common, particularly for members of the political opposition. Prisoners are often restrained for long periods before trial, and their access to lawyers is constrained. My military commander Gadir Musayev was victim of Azerbaijan’s corrupt systems. He was arrested during presidential elections and denied defend by legal lawyer. As he claims, prison conditions were extreme; with many prisoners suffering from overcrowding and insufficient medical care, he was not given adequate medical care in prison. Azerbaijani authorities refused to allow independent medical treatment offered by a European Union delegation that visited Mamedov in prison in June.Musayev was one of the few lucky political prisoners who were liberated from prison with help of International Human Rights Organization.

Corrupt leaders that bound the equality of opportunity control major parts of the economy. As I mentioned earlier, followers of the political opposition face job loss, exile, and dismissal.

Public norms and poor economic conditions in Azerbaijan restrict women’s professional roles. Domestic violence in Azerbaijan is a crisis; moreover, there are no laws to stop spousal abuse. Women can go to court for violence, but poor social values restrict them from doing it.

According to Amnesty International, Azerbaijan is among eight authoritarian countries on the territory of the former USSR.[10] To give a clear view what is “authoritarian” means I will clarify the authoritarianism. Authoritarianism is a political doctrine supporting the principle of absolute rule: dictatorship, totalitarianism and absolutism. Authoritarianism indicates any political system that concentrates authority in the hands of a leader or small elite. Authoritarian leaders often exercise power arbitrarily and without consideration to existing organizations of law. The freedom to formulate opposition political leagues is either limited or nonexistent in authoritarian regimes.[11]

In Azerbaijan, National society institutions weakened, while presidential powers were exceedingly reinforced in 2008. Many themes are off-limits to journalists, who generally practice self-censorship to prevent the dangerous consequences.[12] These include national security issues, excessively powerful or personal attacks on the president, and specific declarations about corruption and criminal businesses activities. At the minimum four journalists, jailed for their professional activity, remain in Azerbaijani prisons. The government disciplines widespread control over electronic media and silences all alternative voices. The authorities stopped broadcasts of BBC on local frequencies from January 1st. The move essentially guarantees a monopoly for state-controlled media and prevents any independent news broadcasts from reaching the Azeri people.[13]

Corruption is one of the main problems obstructing democratic growths in Azerbaijan. Efforts to improve the situation on a legislative level fail at the application phase, as the state agencies authorized to conduct anti corruption activity are believed to be among the most corrupt agencies in the country. However, the country’s government reinforced its rule by elevating a prohibition from a third term presidency, which may lead to the life long presidency of Ilham Aliyev. The situation with freedom is estimated to stay poor as the government continues to silence judgmental voices in the country and disregard the international community’s calls for reformations.[14]

Government of Azerbaijan wants us to welcome those who are constrained to act by their unlawful rules in order to endure – teachers, farmers, law enforcement officers, entry and middle level civil employees, striving businessmen – those many souls captured in the net of corruption are as considerably responsible as the very “leadership” that runs the system. They wish that everyone would suffer enough blame to be helpless of feeling and extracting legitimate moral crime at their outrageous actions. The hidden part of their skilful indoctrination machine works day and night to install into the community the guilty verdict. Nevertheless, the larceny, tyranny, praise, moral putrefaction, mistrust and skepticism are the products of their own deliberate actions, not some certain providence or ancient devastation.