The South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders

52 organisations jointly condemn demolishion of Leyla Yunus house in Baku
52 human rights organisations from 14 countries sent a joint letter of concern to the Azerbaijani authorities today, condemning the demolishing of the property of the human rights defender Leyla Yunus, which was a home for three human rights organizations in the centre of Baku.

On 11 August 2011, the building at 38, Shamsi Badalbeyli Street in Baku was demolished without any prior warning.  Around 8.30 p.m. a team of workers used a bulldozer to start the demolition of the building where three NGOs - the Institute for Peace and Democracy (IPD), Women’s Crisis Center and Azerbaijan’s Campaign to Ban Landmines - were located. Two employees of IPD, which were present at the office, were told to leave. Their request to  Zulfaly Ismaylov from the Baku City Executive Authority and Yusif Gambarov from the State Property Committee in charge of the operation to give them 30 minutes to bring equipment and documents out from the building was denied.

The private property, owned by Leyla and Arif Yunusovs, as well as all documents and equipment that were inside the building, were completely destroyed within 30-40 minutes. All the computers, office appliances, documents of the three organizations, as well as the library and personal archives of IPD chairwoman Leyla Yunus were destroyed. Demolition of the building was executed despite the Baku Administrative Economic Court´s ruling in 24 May 2011, which stated the inadmissibility of destruction of the building without the final court decision.

The undersigned organizations condemned unlawful demolition and any damage to the property. They asked the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately stop the illegal demolitions and ensure Azerbaijan’s commitments to the international conventions. The right to property is guaranteed under the first protocol of the European Convention of Human Rights and the right housing in Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights, which Azerbaijan is a party to. The actions also violate the provision of Article 13 and Article 28 of the Azerbaijani Constitution and corresponding provisions of the Civil and Housing Codes. The government of Azerbaijan should design a trustful and transparent system, which would guarantee fair compensation to the property owners according to the existing market value.

Source: Human Rights House Network

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