The Socialist International Committee for the CIS and the Caucasus, meeting in Kiev on 16-17 December 2005, strongly condemns the use of violence by police in Azerbaijan against demonstrators peacefully protesting the extensive fraud that took place during the recent elections, and calls for basic freedoms to be respected in the country.
The vote on 6 November was marked by undue government control and interference in both the electoral process and the campaign; restrictions on freedom of assembly and expression; police intimidation and arbitrary arrests of opposition candidates and supporters; and vote-buying, ballot-stuffing and gross irregularities in the counting of the votes, as reported by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and other independent observers.
The Socialist International calls upon the authorities in Azerbaijan to carry out a full investigation into the police violence, holding accountable those who are responsible, and strongly urges that all citizens of the country be allowed to exercise their democratic rights without fear.
The International reaffirms its full support for its member party, the Social Democratic Party of Azerbaijan, and all political and civic forces in the country which continue to struggle for democracy and respect for human rights, and expresses its solidarity with the people of Azerbaijan rallying to demand elections that are free and fair.
The Socialist International calls upon the international community to take a firm stand in favour of democratisation in Azerbaijan and to strongly urge the government to conduct, in conjunction with independent observers, a thorough assessment of the recent electoral process to determine whether all or part of the elections should be repeated and to ensure that guarantees for a clean and democratic outcome are put in place.