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 Saturday, February 10 2024 15:21
Naira Badalian

AZEX calls on UN to give objective assessment of situation with human  rights and democracy in Azerbaijan

AZEX calls on UN to give objective assessment of situation with human  rights and democracy in Azerbaijan

ArmInfo.The Azerbaijani Exiled Civic Coalition (AZEX), represented by the Institute for Human Rights  (IHR) and the Institute for Reporters Freedom and Safety (IRFS), condemns the Azerbaijani authorities for completely fraudulent presidential elections held on February 7, 2024, and calls for new and fair elections.

As stated in the statement received by ArmInfo,the AZEX coalition  monitored the voting process remotely using surveillance cameras,  which were installed in 20% of all active polling stations. For the  first time in the history of remote surveillance, a complete mute of  the sound of surveillance cameras was recorded, which made remote  audio surveillance impossible, thanks to which in previous elections  it was possible to record a lot of indirect audio evidence indicating  violations at the polling stations. For about 40% of all surveillance  cameras, the viewing angle was deliberately shifted away from the  most significant areas where violations could be recorded.

The muting of sound on all cameras and deliberately distorted viewing  angles indicate that the Azerbaijani Central Election Commission  deliberately tried to minimize the remote collection of audio and  video evidence of violations on voting day. The facts of pressure on  independent journalists and observers who tried to film "anomalies"  during the voting also indicate that the current authorities tried to  cover up massive violations, such as: "carousels" (voting of the same  people at several polling stations) and mass tossing ballots to  ballot boxes.

"Unfortunately, only 1,000 of the country's 6,319 polling stations  were equipped with video cameras, which did not allow remote  documentation of all violations that occurred during voting and vote  counting," said AZEX co- chairman Emin Huseynov.

"Analysis of video surveillance from polling stations where cameras  were installed revealed significant falsifications in inflating  turnout in almost all polling stations. Considering that even under  surveillance cameras, those responsible for conducting fair elections  managed to carry out obvious frauds, it becomes obvious that similar  violations in polling stations not equipped with cameras were many  times greater," concluded Huseynov.

AZEX considers the assessment of the OSCE/ODIHR observation mission,  voiced by its representatives at the final press conference, to be  insufficiently critical and comprehensive in relation to the existing  glaring shortcomings in the organization and conduct of elections.

AZEX considers the work of the short-term observation mission to be  insufficiently transparent, which did not announce the full list of  short-term observers, namely representatives of which countries,  structures and political forces they were.

AZEX considers hypocritical the behavior of short-term observers of  the OSCE/ODIHR, who refused to show solidarity with their fellow  short-term observer, member of the Swiss Parliament Nik Gugger, who,  due to his membership in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of  Europe, was deported from Azerbaijan in a rude and demonstrative  manner, despite his accredited status observer from the Central  Election Commission of Azerbaijan and the possession of a Swiss  diplomatic passport.

The obvious refusal to answer a direct question from the French  channel France 24 regarding the non-admission of the observer to  Azerbaijan demonstrates the cowardice of the observation mission,  which obviously did not want to upset the Azerbaijani authorities  with its answer.

AZEX also considers the congratulations of OSCE Secretary General  Helga Schmid to Ilham Aliyev unethical against the backdrop of  massive repressions against civil society and independent media  taking place in the country, as well as numerous violations,  including those documented by observers from the OSCE/ODIHR.

It was surprising and questionable to witness the apparently hasty  congratulations to Ilham Aliyev from the President of the European  Council Charles Michel, given that the European Parliament expressed  strong unity in refusing to participate in election observation.

Despite the fact that the Azerbaijani authorities have denied the  Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe its legal right to  observe the elections in Azerbaijan, AZEX calls on PACE at its  upcoming session to provide an advisory assessment of the  anti-democratic actions of the Azerbaijani authorities and demand  that they unquestioningly fulfill the country's commitment to the  Council of Europe.

AZEX believes that holding elections 15 months earlier than  originally planned is due to the desire of the Azerbaijani  authorities to use the opportunity to host the UN COP-29 climate  summit in the country in November this year to strengthen the  international legitimacy and reputation of the current President  Ilham Aliyev, who has been in power more than 20 consecutive years,  and intends to rule in Azerbaijan for the next 7 years at least.

AZEX calls on UN member countries to give an objective assessment of  the situation with human rights and democracy in Azerbaijan, and not  to allow the current authorities of the country to extract political  dividends from such a large-scale event as COP-29 in the country. 

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