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Rasul Jafarov

HRD, Director
Human Rights Club
Front Line Defenders Award Finalist

Rasul Jafarov was chosen as a Finalist for the 2015 Front Line Defenders Award because of his work as Head of the Human Rights Club and Coordinator of the Art for Democracy campaign, which has launched several campaigns against politically-motivated imprisonment, including the Sing for Democracy campaign which took place in the run up to the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. During this campaign, singers from democratic countries were encouraged to voice their concern at human rights violations in Azerbaijan through their music.

Slate Magazine Article

Europe's Other Crackdown

Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award

"[Imprisoned HRDs in Azerbaijan] exhibit great courage and make huge efforts in promoting dignity, democratic values and human rights in their home country."
- Norwegian Helsinki Committee

Rasul Jafarov is the Head of the Human Rights Club, an organisation established in December 2010 to protect human rights and freedoms in Azerbaijan. He organised the 'Art for Democracy' and 'Sing for Democracy' campaigns in the context of the Eurovision Song Contest in Baku in 2012 to draw international attention to the government’s crackdown on civil society.


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.


Front Line Defenders Award Finalist 2015 - Rasul Jafarov