human rights & business (and a few other things)

Eurovision Fever

While for many of us the Eurovision song contest has always been just an opportunity to spend a fun night with friends, this year the contest has taken an unexpected turn. This is because it is held in Azerbaijan following the victory of the unfortunately named Eldar and Nigar with their rather insipid song Running Scared at the 2011 contest.

As reported by Amnesty International, in Azerbaijan journalists and human rights defenders are regularly attacked, blackmailed and imprisoned and the use of torture is widespread. The Eurovision contest provides a good opportunity to shed light on this country and the abuses perpetrated there.

In a move similar to what they had done for the Bahrain Grand Prix last month, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre has asked the corporate sponsors of the event to comment on the human rights situation and the fact that through sponsoring they indirectly support the rulers in Baku.

Some of the responses provided are interesting and it seems to me that at least some sponsors, such as Schwarzkopf/Henkel, are not completely comfortable with their sponsoring.

I hope to see more responses in the next 24 hours and, I admit, I also look forward to the contest itself!

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