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I am disturbed that human rights defense lawyer Shahla Humbatova of Azerbaijan was disbarred from the Azerbaijani bar on the eve of International Women’s Day, a year after receiving the Secretary of State’s International Woman of Courage (IWOC) award. Her work, and the work of other human rights defenders in Azerbaijan, should be celebrated, not punished, and we call on those responsible to expedite her reinstatement to the Azerbaijani bar.

The United States is committed to a world in which human rights are respected, their defenders are celebrated, and those who commit human rights abuses are held accountable. We encourage all steps toward systemic reforms in Azerbaijan, especially those regarding the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms – areas that will benefit the Azerbaijani people and create opportunities to deepen our cooperation.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future