US voices concern over restrictive political environment in Azerbaijan

The US Department of State has issued a statement, expressing regret over Azerbaijan’s prevention of OSCE ODHIR monitoring of its parliamentary elections. The statement reads:

We regret that the Government of Azerbaijan did not allow the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to field its necessary number of observers, and therefore ODIHR was not able to monitor the elections.  Without ODIHR participation, it is impossible for us to say that Azerbaijan has made progress on ODIHR’s previous election observation recommendations, which identified and sought to address limitations to fundamental freedoms.

We continue to have concerns about the restrictive political environment in Azerbaijan and urge the Government of Azerbaijan to respect the freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, and independent voices including the media as part of its international commitments, and to work with the OSCE, including ODIHR, to this end.  We remain committed to working with the government and people of Azerbaijan in their effort to ensure a strong, stable, democratic, and prosperous future.

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