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Azerbaijani Delegation Suspended for One Year from PACE Due to Human Rights Concerns


Azerbaijani Delegation Suspended for One Year from PACE Due to Human Rights Concerns

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has decided not to ratify the powers of the Azerbaijani delegation, leading to the suspension of their participation for a minimum of one year.


The resolution, adopted in light of ongoing concerns, reflects the Assembly's unease over Azerbaijan's failure to fulfill major commitments since joining the Council of Europe two decades ago. The decision follows a vote in which PACE opted not to ratify the credentials of Azerbaijan's parliamentary delegation.


Ruben Rubinyan, Vice President of the National Assembly of Armenia, shared the news on social media, noting that the Azerbaijani delegation may only resume activities in the Assembly once the conditions outlined in the Rules of Procedure are met.



The resolution makes reference to the Assembly's June 2023 resolution, "Ensuring Free and Safe Movement through the Lachin Corridor," highlighting the absence of such movement and the serious humanitarian consequences. PACE expressed deep regret that its Rapporteur on the Lachin Corridor was denied the opportunity to travel there for a fact-finding mission.


The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh was a focal point, with the Assembly condemning Azerbaijan's military operation in September 2023. The operation resulted in the displacement of the entire Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, leading to allegations of "ethnic cleansing."


The parliamentarians emphasized "very serious concerns" regarding Azerbaijan's ability to conduct free and fair elections, the separation of powers, legislative weakness vis-à-vis the executive, judicial independence, and respect for human rights. These concerns were backed by judgments from the European Court of Human Rights and opinions from the Venice Commission.


The resolution also pointed to instances of Azerbaijan's "lack of cooperation" with the Assembly, including the denial of meetings with persons detained on politically motivated charges and the refusal to invite PACE to observe the forthcoming presidential election. The refusal of visits to the country by other PACE rapporteurs further contributed to the decision.


This suspension shows PACE's commitment to upholding democratic principles and human rights within its member states, sending a strong message about the consequences of non-compliance with established commitments.



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