Ministers, ambassadors and envoys from at least 15 countries, including Maroš Šefčovič, the European Commission’s Vice President for the Energy Union, are gathered today in the Azerbaijani capital to discuss the progress on the Southern Gas Corridor, the largest energy project the EU is currently pursuing.
But over the past couple of months, it seems the European Commission’s justifications for this controversial undertaking have been crumbling by the day.
Ahead of the Asian Development Bank's board meeting where a loan to the Shah Deniz gas expansion project in Azerbaijan is to be discussed, a group of NGOs ask the ADB board to postpone a decision and align the ADB to the practice of other IFIs involved in financing the same and related gas projects.
Ahead of an expected loan decision by the Asian Development Bank for the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan, non-governmental organisations raised concerns over the human rights situation in the country as well as in Turkey, to where the gas from Shah Deniz will be transported via the Southern Gas Corridor.
The Sport for Rights coalition strongly condemns the sentencing of Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova to a staggering 7.5 years in jail. On 1 September, the Baku Court of Grave Crimes convicted Ismayilova on charges of embezzlement, illegal entrepreneurship, tax evasion, and abuse of office. Ismayilova was acquitted of the charge of inciting someone to attempt suicide. Sport for Rights considers the charges against Ismayilova to be politically motivated and connected to her work as an investigative journalist, particularly her exposure of corruption among the ruling Azerbaijani elite.
Last week, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development approved a loan over half a billion dollars for Lukoil’s share in the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan. In this guest post, rights activist Emma Hughes from Platform reflects on how business as usual resumes after the media attention on Azerbaijan’s human rights abuses has faded.
A USD 500 million loan for the share of Russian gas giant Lukoil in a major gas project in Azerbaijan has been approved yesterday by the Board of Directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Yet, the decision will significantly hinder Europe's commitments to decarbonise as well as to advance democracy.
The Board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a coalition of companies, governments, investors and civil society organisations has unanimously downgraded Azerbaijan to a "candidate country". Azerbaijan will be suspended from the EITI in April 2016 if it does not comply with a set of requirements that ensure civil society can work freely in the country.
On Wednesday 22 July the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will decide whether it will arrange a loan of up to $ 500 million to Russia’s Lukoil for the Shah Deniz II offshore gas project in Azerbaijan.
Together with the campaigners of Sport for Rights and sixteen other NGOs, Bankwatch has written a letter to the EBRD’s president and its directors. We urge them to reject the project because Azerbaijan fails the EBRD’s basic requirements which include human rights, multi-party democracy, rule of law and pluralism.