Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has welcomed the decision of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to refuse to ratify the credentials of the delegation of Azerbaijan for 2024.
After a debate this week, the Assembly over-whelming endorsed a resolution confirming that the parliamentary delegation from Azerbaijan will not be allowed to attend the Assembly.
Speaking at the PACE Assembly this week Senator Gavan, who has previously presented two human rights reports to the Assembly on Azerbaijan, said:
“It is never good to lose the representation of a member state. But this is an absolutely necessary decision.
“The Azerbaijan government has consistently displayed a flagrant disregard for the key principles of Democracy, Human Rights and the rule of law that are fundamental to the Council of Europe.
“The resolution we are endorsing cites ‘very serious concerns’ about Azerbaijan’s ability to conduct free and fair elections, the separation of powers, the weakness of its legislature, the independence of the judiciary, and respect for human rights. Indeed, only this weekAzerbaijan features heavily in a new report on systemic torture and inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment.
“I had the honour to write two reports on Azerbaijan for this assembly: One on the humanitarian consequences of the conflict in 2020 with Armenia, and one on the issue of the blockade on the Lachin Corridor.
“On the first report I was denied the opportunity to visit Armenian prisoners captured after the conflict had ended. I also received horrific details of unlawful killings and torture of Armenian citizens.
“On the second report I was denied access to the Lachin corridor even as the same government continued to claim that there was free and safe access for the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh.
“This latter claim was a blatant falsehood. The blockade of the corridor was followed by aggressive military action that caused the ethic cleaning of over 100,000 Armenians resident in Nagorno Karabakh.
“In the light of all of these actions, and the consistent refusal of the Azerbaijan regime to comply with numerous reports produced by the Assembly there was simply no option other than to refuse to ratify the credentials of the Azerbaijan delegation for this year.”