Azerbaijan: Whether the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) provides membership documents, including identification cards and letters; appearance of such documents (2015-January 2017) [AZE105726.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, the Chairman of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) stated the following regarding the issuance of membership documents by the APFP:

Members of the party received only membership cards. … Previously, members would automatically be given membership cards. However, for the past 1.5 years this policy has been altered. … [W]e became aware of the worrying tendency to use the party membership to emigrate abroad. We realized that more and more people were applying to become members for solely this dishonest reason. For this reason, and as a precaution, we have not been giving out party membership cards to those that have joined in the last 1.5 years. (APFP 23 Jan. 2017)

Without providing further detail, the same source indicated that APFP membership cards were of "predominantly two forms" (ibid). Samples of APFP membership cards, sent to the Research Directorate by the Chairman, are attached to this Response (Attachments 1 and 2).

The Chairman further stated that the APFP is "aware that there are certain illegal groups that give out … fake party membership cards" (ibid.). However, according to the same source, the APFP has the names of "actual" members in the "relevant local party membership database[s]" (ibid.).

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a researcher affiliated with the Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University who specializes in Azerbaijani political activism provided the following information:

[the] head of the party, in an interview in May 2015, told me they were trying to update their membership records. It was a bit complicated, he said, as those who are unemployed don’t have to pay the membership fee (and many among opposition members are unemployed because if you are considered “oppositional” you are very unattractive at the job market). Also, though they have many new members, mainly young, he said, others (the middle aged and older) are … keeping a low profile and do not want to be officially affiliated because they are afraid. (Researcher 4 Jan. 2017)

Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

For further information on the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party, please consult Response to Information Request AZE105517 of 16 May 2016.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP). 23 January 2017. Correspondence from the Chairman to the Research Directorate.

Researcher, Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University. 4 January 2017. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

 

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Azerbaijan Popular Front Party Youth Committee; Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies, Georgetown University; the European Azerbaijani Society France; Freelance journalist specializing in Azerbaijani politics; Instructor, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto Mississauga; Journalist in Baku; Lecturer specializing in political sociology in the Caucasus region, Université d'Auvergne; Lecturer specializing in post-Soviet Eurasia, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford; National Democratic Institute's Eurasia program; Researcher, Amnesty International; UNHCR Representative in Azerbaijan.

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International; Azerbaijan State News Agency; Azeri-Press Agency; ecoi.net; Factiva; Human Rights Watch; News.az; Political Handbook of the World; Radio Free Asia; Trend News Agency; Turan Information Agency; UN – Human Rights Council, Refworld.

Attachments

  1. Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP). 2014. Sample of an APFP membership card. Sent to the Research Directorate by the Chairman, 23 January 2017.
  2. Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP). 2012. Sample of an APFP membership card. Sent to the Research Directorate by the Chairman, 23 January 2017.