Elkhan Suleymanov appeals to ODIHR Director (Azeri-Press News Agency)

President of ACSDA Elkhan Suleymanov has appealed to Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) Mr. Michael George Link.

The appeal reads:

“Allow me to address you on your weeks visit to Baku, preparing the monitoring of the 2015 parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan.

During your meetings with several Azerbaijani officials, you emphasized that the election monitoring activities by OSCE/ODIHR are based on clear principles and standards. You explained that OSCE/ODIHR always takes into account and highlights all opinions, observations and analysis of all facts and circumstances, in order to conclude to an objective assessment.

We learned from you that during a recent meeting between officials of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and OSCE/ODIHR, this issue was discussed at large, and upcoming parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan will be monitored accordingly.

You now publicly stated in Baku that OSCE/ODIHR will monitor elections “in full objectivity, as always”.

These opinions during your Baku visit astonished me and forced to express my position on them in my capacity of President of the Association for Civil Society Development in Azerbaijan (ACSDA). Thus, the ACSDA has monitored all elections in the country for 15 years and is recognized by international institutions as a specialized organization with enough potential in the sphere of monitoring of elections. The ACSDA, as a professional in this field, is regularly invited by international institutions to meetings and debates held on the eve of elections.

Therefore, with regard to your statement on monitoring of elections by OSCE/ODIHR “in full objectivity, as always”, let me recall you that so-called “full objectivity” was not at all “always” the OSCE/ODIHRs standard, in particular as it was proved during 2013 presidential elections in Azerbaijan.

You will for sure remember that three officially mandated independent and professional observation missions from European parliamentary assemblies, namely from PACE, OSCE-PA and European Parliament came to totally different conclusions than ODIHR. These European organizations, represented by dozens of MPs from all political groups and all European countries, came unanimously to the conclusion that presidential elections were open, free and fair, albeit that some minor shortcomings were noted.

Nevertheless, civil servants from ODIHR – not having any public representation capacity! – strongly insisted to completely overrule fact-findings by all these official delegations, even threatened them to conclude on the contrary to a very negative assessment, thus deliberately and totally one-sided trying to harm the good reputation of my country.

ODIHR observation mission is usually composed of middle and low-ranking officers representing OSCE member-countries. Differently from members of parliament, they usually have very little information about the election process, in some cases, they are generally unaware and as a rule, ODIHR election observation members, who are middle and low-ranking officers, are forced to unconditionally carry out the orders of the high officials. For this reason, in this or any other form they are prone to fall under the influence and easily become representatives of these or other corporate interests.

Together with many European political decision makers I am fully aware that huge corporate interests invest in your organization ODIHR and in instructing your civil servants. Their main purpose is to use ODIHRs elections monitoring as a leverage to impose some particular foreign political agenda on many young democracies, including my country. This is not a secret, as since many years this is common practice.

By taking stubborn and biased negative positions against my country, and by publicly suggesting some kind of “revolution”, please be aware that similar kind of policy has set into flames Ukraine, all Maghreb and most Middle-East countries, turning many of them into failed states, and endangering the world peace as never before.

In this regard, allow me to invite you most sincerely to inquire the opinion of the Azerbaijani people and it will become clear to you that in my country nobody is looking for such unrest, moreover given the fact of our very fragile geopolitical neighborhood.

Taking all this in account, I trust that you will understand my astonishment when you stated few days ago in Baku that OSCE/ODIHR will monitor elections “in full objectivity, as always”. Its crystal clear that this was not the case in the past, but as I keep believing in honesty and justice, I do trust that this time, during upcoming parliamentary elections, you will assess elections in full objectivity, albeit for the first time.

I suppose that your conclusions, as always, are already drafted, and corporate interests will direct the ODIHRs pencil to bias.

This time I refuse to believe this, I want to put my trust that ODIHRs assessment may be truly objective in these elections thanks to your efforts”.

The appeal was also sent to OSCE Chairperson Ivica Dacic, OSCE PA President Ilkka Kanerva, President of the European Parliament Martin Shulz, Secretary General of Council of Europe ThorbjA¸rn Jagland and PACE President Anne Brasseur.