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    PACE to Observe Azerbaijan Elections Amid Human Rights Concerns

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    The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will maintain its mission to Azerbaijan to observe the upcoming elections there, amid allegations of human rights breaches in the country, the assembly's president, Anne Brasseur, said Monday.

    STRASBOURG (Sputnik) Azerbaijan is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections on November 1. Its restrictions on the number of observers have caused controversy, with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe refusing to participate as monitors.

    "We decided to maintain the mission to Azerbaijan knowing that the human rights situation is not really good… We are going to observe several elections — elections in Ukraine, in Turkey, in Belarus, in Kyrgyzstan, and we are also going up observe the elections in Azerbaijan," Brasseur said.

    The PACE chief also stressed that the decision to observe the elections in the country had been widely debated by the assembly.

    "We can't have a separation between human rights and election process, because in order to have true democracy, human rights must be respected and that is not the case in Azerbaijan for the moment. I hope this mission will help us in order to bring our message to the Azeri authorities and say they have to fulfill their commitments," Brasseur noted.

    Various human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have repeatedly accused the Azerbaijan authorities of systematic human rights violations, including the unlawful detention of reporters and political activists.

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    observers, elections, PACE, Azerbaijan
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