UNPO recently coordinated a fact-finding mission to Dagestan and Azerbaijan from 27 August – 1 September 2013 with Members of the European and Flemish parliament, journalists and academics, to objectively assess the political situation of ethnic and religious minorities within the context of the upcoming presidential elections in Azerbaijan. The findings of this mission will be presented by the mission delegates to Members of the European Parliament, media and civil society actors.
The Lezghin people, indigenous to the northern Caucasus, as well as numerous other vulnerable groups, have suffered from a multitude of cultural and linguistic erosions, political oppression and gross underrepresentation. In Azerbaijan, they face persecution and ache from a deficiency of rights, which is once more proven by the pre-electoral crackdown on civil society whereby Lezghin activists and many others were arrested on false charges. The fact-finding report aims at providing European officials and policy makers with objective information and testimonies regarding the current perspectives for minority rights, democracy and the rule of law in Dagestan and Azerbaijan.
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