Nobel Women: Release human rights activist Leyla Yunus

The Nobel Women’s Initiative calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to release human rights defenders Leyla Yunus and her husband Arif Yunus. Leyla is the founding director of the Peace and Democracy Institute in Baku and a friend of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. The activists have been detained now for over two weeks.

Leyla Yunus’ health has dramatically deteriorated while in prison. The prosecutor’s office is delaying the processing of her request for medication and refuses to hospitalize her. The Nobel Women’s Initiative urges Azerbaijani authorities to immediately provide all necessary medical care for Leyla Yunus and her spouse. Their safety and wellbeing are the absolute responsibility of the Azerbaijani government.

These arrests are part of ongoing restrictions and pressure on civil society activists in Azerbaijan and an increasing trend of harassment of women human rights defenders worldwide. The United Nations General Assembly passed a landmark resolution last year calling on all states to support and defend women human rights defenders such as Leyla Yunus. The Azerbaijani authorities must honor its international obligations as a signatory of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and end the campaign of intimidation against human rights activists. We call on the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately release Leyla and Arif Yunus.

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