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Amnesty International Asks Shakira + Rihanna to Cancel Concert in Azerbaijan

Shakira Rihanna
Carlos Alvarez / Allison Joyce, Getty Images

When you’re a global superstar like Rihanna and Shakira, that means people all across the planet are dying to see you perform live, even in countries you may not be able to pronounce (or that you may not have heard of!). As a result, you may not realize that some of the countries in which you’re slated to show your stuff also commit human rights violations.

Case in point: Amnesty International is requesting that Shaki and RiRi pull out of their scheduled performances in Azerbaijan. What’s the deal?

Rihanna and Shakira are all set to perform at the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup of soccer in Baku, Azerbaijan later this month, but human rights organizations Amnesty International and Sing for Democracy are urging them to pull out to protest the free speech abuses they claim Azerbaijan commits against its citizens and press.

“Stadiums may cheer for internationally renowned recording artists like Rihanna and Shakira, but citizens within the European country do not enjoy such freedom of expression and are often persecuted when attempting to speak out,” Amnesty International said in a press release (via E! Online). “Today, many Azerbaijani journalists, bloggers and political activists have been arrested and persecuted multiple times.”

Amnesty wrote that the organization “believes that the Azerbaijani government should afford all artists, journalists, activists and ordinary citizens the right to express themselves freely without fear of reprisal. We hope that you share our belief.”

While neither singer nor their reps responded to E!’s request for comment, we wouldn’t be surprised if Amnesty International’s appeal gave Shakira some pause before hitting the stage. The future ‘Voice‘ coach has always been active in human rights and philanthropic causes.

Do you think Rihanna and Shakira should perform in Azerbaijan? Or do you think pulling out of the performance would be punishing the country’s citizens for their government’s mistakes? Tell us in the comments!

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