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Leyla Yunus

HRD, Director
Institute for Peace and Democracy
Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) has awarded the 2014 Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award to political prisoners in Azerbaijan.

Theodor Haecher Prize

The "Theodor Haecker Prize for Political Courage and Sincerity - the Prize for International Human Rights from the City of Esslingen" is awarded biannually to individuals involved in the defence of human rights, promotion of democracy, freedom and peace. 

Azerbaijan is turning into a dictatorship – we shouldn't fall for its caviar diplomacy'

Leyla Yunus is the Director of the Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD), an organisation promoting the rule of law and involved in conflict resolution and peace-building between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The human rights defender and her organisation have faced judicial harassment and intimidation in the past. Leyla Yunus was awarded the Theodor Haecker Prize in 2013 in recognition of her work in combatting corruption and promoting human rights and the rule of law.

The space for human rights defenders (HRDs) and NGOs has been steadily shrinking in Azerbaijan. A number of legislative amendments have been adopted in recent years that restrict the work of HRDs and put their activities under strict governmental control. The roundup of the most prominent HRDs and their subsequent trials and imprisonment indicate that Azerbaijan is well on the road towards authoritarianism, seemingly adopting a Russian-style contempt of civil society.


Leyla Yunus