“The Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum condemns the behaviour of several members of the delegation of the National Platform of Azerbaijan at the Assembly of the EaP CSF in Batumi, Georgia who attempted to disrupt an exhibition…” – read below what happened at the presentation of posters describing problems of contemporary Azerbaijan – dictatorship, political prisoners, lack of freedom of speech, assembly and the press, or illegal expropriations – in Batumi, Georgia, and the EaP CSF’s official reaction.
Statement of the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum
The Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum condemns the behaviour of several members of the delegation of the National Platform of Azerbaijan at the Assembly of the EaP CSF in Batumi, Georgia who attempted to disrupt an exhibition of posters prepared by other members of the Forum representing People in Need, Czech Republic and the Nesehnuti, Czech Republic and acted aggressively towards other members of the Forum. The exhibition referred to the current political and human rights situation in Azerbaijan.
The Steering Committee has decided to expel the member of the Azeri delegation Balayev Salim from Ecolog-2010 public Union from the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum in accordance with procedures outlined in the statute of the organisation based on the article 6 point c) Serious threat to, or actual damage to, the reputation of the Association.
The Yeni Musavat, newspaper whose editor in chief Rauf Arifoglu was invited by the Azeri National Platform to cover the activities of the Forum and was present at the Assembly, has reported that all but five of the Azerbaijani delegation members were boycotting the Assembly because of the above mentioned exhibition. The report added that the President of Georgia had decided not to attend the Assembly because of the “scandal at the lobby”. The report also said that the entire incident was controlled by Boris Navasardian, a member of the Steering Committee. These false statements, which also defame People in Need, whose representative Ivana Skalova is also a member of the Steering Committee, represent an unwarranted attack not only on the Steering Committee but also on the Civil Society Forum generally.
The Steering Committee notes that the reported boycott of the Assembly by the majority of the Azerbaijani delegation means that the representative of the delegation have de facto relinquished their mandates as delegates to the Assembly. This means that their subsequent participation in the election of the facilitator of the Azerbaijan National Platform occurred when their votes and their choice of facilitator was invalid.
The Steering Committee requests the Azerbaijani delegates to clarify their position as the only way to retain their votes as delegates and the choice of their national facilitator remains valid.