Journal Of Democracy
The autocratic regime of President Ilham Aliyev in Azerbaijan has managed to steal the soul of Europe’s most important human rights institution, the Council of Europe. This article reveals Azerbaijan’s hidden agenda to neutralize the “naming and shaming” strategy of the international human-rights movement, build influence through “caviar diplomacy,” and unleash a wave of repression against human-rights defenders. For the Council of Europe, whose function is to defend the European Convention of Human Rights, to align itself with a regime jailing human-rights activists is unprecedented and deeply disturbing. As the space for human-rights organizations to operate is shrinking in many parts of the world today, the capture of the Council of Europe sends a warning to all supporters of human rights, and not only in Europe.