The crackdown on dissent that started in 2014 continues. Over a hundred political prisoners remain behind bars. Scores of independent lawyers who defend opposition activists have been disbarred, independent journalists are frequently harassed, and several independent media outlets have had their websites blocked in the country.
While 2019 saw the release of some political prisoners and increasing rhetoric from President Aliyev about reforms, none of this changes the overall picture in terms of the repression of civil society. The 2020 snap parliamentary elections were marred with fraudulent voting, according to independent groups and the OSCE.
The combination of domestic repressions and little support from the international community leaves democracy and human rights activists in Azerbaijan isolated, with few opportunities to develop. Despite challenges, some activists are able to bring about small, positive changes within their communities in different ways.