Campaign group Platform London has attacked the oil firm in a new book, criticising the sponsorship of the 2015 European Games in Baku and the relationship the company has with the Azeri regime, responsible for jailing various journalists and activists.
In the book named All that Glitters – Sport, BP and Repression in Azerbaijan, Platform explored the links between BP – the largest foreign investor in Azerbaijan – and President Aliyev, criticised for human rights abuse and lack of freedom of speech.
The book argues that BP has had a central role in empowering the Aliyev dynasty and its relationship with the US and the EU, and in shaping the sport event, nicknamed ‘Oil Games’, in order to serve its interests. This is despite several controversial power abuses, including the arrests of various journalists, academics and activists in the country, who speak out against the government and BP.
Journalist Khadija Ismayilova who was imprisoned in December 2014 said before the arrest, “BP bear a responsibility for what is happening in Azerbaijan. BP is one of the reasons why the west is very hesitant about any changes in this country. The Aliyev regime is good for BP. It allows their operations and they can sort out issues with the regime.
“Political influence is part of the bargain. BP is blamed for bringing Aliyev senior to power but it’s not just historic – the UK government is silent about problems with democracy in Azerbaijan. BP’s interests are dictating the agenda.”
BP says on its website that its operations in the region have “stimulated social and economic progress”. Nevertheless, earlier this year, the firm cut 255 jobs in Azerbaijan – around 8% of its workforce.
Photo: Mike Mozart via Flickr
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