Azerbaijan announced on Wednesday that it is terminating its participation and cooperation with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe after the body voted to reject its credentials citing its failure to “fulfill commitments” to the organization.
The Azerbaijani delegation, in a statement, accused PACE of being anti Azerbaijan and “xenophobic.”
“This decision is made due to the intolerable atmosphere of xenophobia, Azeri hatred and Islamophobia prevailing in the Assembly,” the statement said.
In a vote of 76 to 10, with 4 abstentions, PACE decided to reject the ratifications of Azerbaijan’s credentials citing a failure to fulfill “major commitments” after 20 years in the Council of Europe, and a lack of co-operation.
In a report presented by Mogens Jensen of Denmark, the PACE Monitoring Committee deplored that more than 20 years after joining the Council of Europe, Azerbaijan has not fulfilled major commitments stemming from its membership in the organization.
“Very serious concerns remain as to its ability to conduct free and fair elections, the separation of powers, the weakness of its legislature vis-à-vis the executive, the independence of the judiciary and respect for human rights, as illustrated by numerous judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and opinions of the Venice Commission,” Jensen said, citing the committee’s conclusions.
The PACE member added that the body was also concerned about the reported cases of “political prisoners” and the increased number of violations of freedom of _expression_, “illustrated namely by recent arrests of independent journalists from Abzas media outlet.”
“As regards the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, the committee recalls Resolution 2508 (2023) condemning the blockade of the Lachin corridor and Resolution 2517 (2023) condemning the Azerbaijani army’s military operation of September 2023, which led to the flight of the entire Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia,” the statement said.
The committee also deplored cases of “lack of co-operation in the Assembly’s monitoring procedure” in accordance to PACE rules, “in particular lack of invitation to observe the forthcoming presidential election, and cases of lack of co-operation with Assembly’s rapporteurs.”