Baku, October 31, AZERTAC
“Nils Muizneks article does not reflect the realities on the ground in Azerbaijan,” said spokesman of Azerbaijan`s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hikmat Hajiyev as he responded to a biased article of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muizneks titled "Azerbaijan: an area of darkness", which was published in Politico magazine on October 28. In his response letter published by the magazine, Mr Hajiyev says: “The views in the article "Azerbaijan: an area of darkness" by Nils Muizneks (October 28, 2015, POLITICO.eu) do not reflect the realities on the ground in Azerbaijan and fall short of providing a complete view of the pre-election environment in Azerbaijan.” “In the article, Muizneks, before the announcement of the official results of the parliamentary elections on November 1, attempts to make prejudgments about its outcome. He also goes on to speak on behalf of the Azerbaijani electorate numbering 5 million people and 1,200 candidates.”
“The government of Azerbaijan has taken all necessary measures to guarantee free, open and transparent elections. The upcoming parliamentary election will be observed by more than 500 international observers representing PACE, OIC, CIS, BSEC, Turkish Council and other institutions. Meanwhile, 60,000 more local observers will take part in the elections,” Mr Hajiyev said.
“Without referring to substantiated facts, Nils Muiznieks's political statement ‘elections in Azerbaijan have been marred by irregularities since the country became independent in 1991,’ can be construed as disregard for the candidates and observers who are involved in these elections.
In the same realm, with regard to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights election observation mission, the author did not mention that OSCE/ODHIR, instead of providing a clear explanation for disproportionality between election constituencies and the number of 400 observers, made an arbitrary decision to cancel its mission to Azerbaijan. OSCE/ODHIR is authorized and paid to provide technical support for member states in elections, but not to make political judgments. OSCE/ODHIR's reaction constitutes a blatant violation of its mandate, which needs to be reviewed by the OSCE members as was discussed during the session of the OSCE Permanent Council.”
“The author also tries to associate the arrest of some individuals, which are based on due criminal proceedings and court decisions, with the election process. These are completely unrelated matters. It is curious to observe that while referring to individual criminal cases in Azerbaijan, Muiznieks omits to highlight the mass violation of basic human rights of more than 1 million Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). These people have been subject of bloody ethnic cleansing as a result of Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan.”
He said: “Interpreting the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights of 2005 and 2010 in the context of political terms, Muiznieks passes in silence over the judgment of ECRH on the case of Chiragov and others vs. Armenia on June 16, 2015. The ECHR ruling effectively put an end to Armenia's denial of its responsibility for the unlawful occupation of the territories of Azerbaijan and underlined the rights of Azerbaijani IDPs who were prevented from returning to their homes and thus unable to use their properties.”
“Muiznieks' claims about the "international isolation of Azerbaijan" do not hold up either. Azerbaijan will continue to be an active and responsible member of the international community. As a reliable and predictable country, the network of Azerbaijan's partnerships only continues to grow.
Elections are an important component of the democratic process in every country. Regardless of what has been said, the free will of the Azerbaijani people, their active participation, and their votes will determine the outcome of elections,” the Foreign Ministry's spokesperson added.