OSCE/ODIHR violates its mandate by declining to observe election in Azerbaijan

OSCE/ODIHR violates its mandate by declining to observe election in Azerbaijan

Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 12

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Azerbaijan's permanent mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said it is concerned over the decision taken by the director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to cancel an observation mission to the country's upcoming parliamentary election, to be held Nov. 1.

"The Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, honoring its OSCE commitments, extended an invitation to the OSCE/ODIHR to observe the election," read the statement from the mission of Azerbaijan.

The mission added that after the Needs Assessment Mission (NAM) report, the Azerbaijani side communicated in writing substantive concerns over the findings and recommendations of the NAM and questioned the validity of the OSCE/ODIHR election observation methodology, in particular the number of the long-term (LTOs) and short-term observers (STOs) recommended by NAM.

"Taking into account the election practice in wide OSCE area and ratio of LTOs and STOs to the size of population and electorate, the Government of Azerbaijan suggested the OSCE/ODIHR revising its NAM report," said the mission.

"Unfortunately, the OSCE/ODIHR refused to heal to the concerns of Azerbaijan and rejected the proposal to engage in consultations on its debatable recommendations."

"Declining the invitation to observe the parliamentary election is a serious violation by the Director of ODIHR of the mandate entrusted to him," said the mission.

The mission added that the failure by the OSCE/ODIHR to address the shortcomings communicated by Azerbaijan and attempt to impose questionable recommendations of the NAM is not only an attempt to infringe upon sovereign rights of an OSCE participating state, but also is contrary to the spirit of the OSCE, which stands for dialogue and cooperation.

"The fact that the decision of the OSCE/ODIHR came right after the relevant resolution of European Parliament on Azerbaijan, which called for refraining from observation of our parliamentary election, adds to the doubts of ODIHR's independence, integrity and professionalism," said the mission.

It was also noted in the statement that the people of Azerbaijan, with or without the OSCE/ODIHR election observation, will have a chance to express their will in a free and fair election.

Earlier the OSCE released the ODIHR Director Michael Link's statement, which said that no mission will be sent to observe the parliamentary election to be held in Azerbaijan Nov. 1.

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