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European Parliament Takes Stand Against Azerbaijan: Credentials Not Approved Amid Human Rights Concerns

European Parliament Takes Stand Against Azerbaijan: Credentials Not Approved Amid Human Rights Concerns

The Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) recommended against approving the credentials of the Azerbaijani delegation during a plenary session on Tuesday. The majority vote came after a heated debate, with concerns raised about ongoing human rights violations and political prisoners in Azerbaijan.

The Monitoring Committee asserted that the powers of the Azerbaijani delegation should not be approved for at least one year, pending a discussion on January 24. The decision may lead to a partial or complete limitation of the delegation's powers, although it won't result in the suspension of Azerbaijan's participation in other Council of Europe structures.

German MP Frank Schwabe played a pivotal role in initiating the move to limit Azerbaijan's powers. Citing continuous human rights violations, a growing number of political prisoners, and Azerbaijan's refusal to allow PACE delegation access to evaluate the upcoming presidential elections, Schwabe urged action. The refusal to allow PACE speakers into the Lachin corridor in 2023 further fueled concerns.

The decision aligns with the Assembly's recalls of Azerbaijan's unfulfilled commitments since joining the Council of Europe in 2001. Ongoing concerns include free and fair elections, separation of powers, weak legislature, and human rights issues, as highlighted by various resolutions and reports, including those on political prisoners, restrictions on NGO activities, and alleged violations of the rights of LGBTI people.

The Assembly also expressed deep regret over Azerbaijan's lack of cooperation with rapporteurs on threats to journalists, human rights defenders, and issues related to migration, refugees, and displaced persons. The refusal to extend invitations for election observation and fact-finding visits contributed to the decision not to ratify the Azerbaijani delegation's credentials.

This significant move by the European Parliament shows the urgency of addressing human rights concerns and upholding the principles of the Council of Europe. The decision signals a commitment to accountability and sends a clear message about the importance of respecting democratic values and human rights within the Council of Europe member states.


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