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Business, human rights, and the Baku 2015 European Games

In June 2015, Azerbaijan will host the first European Games, in Baku.  As it prepared for the games, the government has stepped up its crack-down on human rights activists.  Many are currently prisoners of conscience.  One of them, Leyla Yunus, has called for a boycott of the Games over the deteriorating situation in the country.  

Meanwhile, the British Chief Operating Officer for the games, Simon Clegg, has described the country as “an incredibly free society” and a “wonderful place to live”, and has said British firms have already reaped "millions of pounds" in contracts in areas like public relations and catering.  Official sponsors for the games include BP, Coca-Cola, Nar Mobile, P&G, Tissot, McDonald's and Tickethour.  They are likely to face mounting pressure over this sponsorship, in the light of the Azeri government's serious human rights violations.

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Related stories and components

Article
21 August 2014

The 2015 European Games in Azerbaijan: Human Rights Violations Already

Author: Michael Kourabas, in Triple Pundit

As oil-rich Azerbaijan prepares to host next year’s inaugural ‘European Games,’ the Azerbaijani government has stepped up its crackdown on activists speaking out against its abysmal human rights record.  As of this writing, more than 20 human rights...

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Story
14 September 2014

Civil society organizations urge sponsors of Baku 2015 to consider human rights impacts

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Company response
17 March 2015

Coca-Cola response re sponsorship of Baku 2015

...In terms of the Baku Games, we are not providing financial support and are only making our products available....

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Article
14 July 2015

From the European Games to Formula 1: how sporting events are ignoring human rights

Author: Phil Bloomer, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre on the Guardian

At the European Games in June, the president of Azerbaijan squeezed onto the podium with compatriot Ilham Zakiyev, the judo gold medal winner, for a photo that ended up in news around the world... What are the implications for this sort of...

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