A.Nuriyev: obstacles to the development of civil society are eliminated

Significant steps to improve the situation of civil society taken in recent years demonstrates a new political will in this area, said in an interview with the TV program "Cetin SUAL" ("difficult question")  Alimammad Nuriyev, the head of the Commission of law and monitoring of the Council of State Support to NGOs under the President of Azerbaijan.

He pointed to the removal of arrest from the bank accounts of many NGOs. Recent examples of this he  called  removal the  arrests from the  accounts  of "Assistance to Free Economy", "For Civil Society", "Center for media and community initiatives." Previously the arrests were removed from the accounts of eight NGOs from the international coalition "Transparency Initiative in the mining industry."

Nuriyev also pointed to the study and analysis of the new legislation in the area of ​​NGOs by the Commission of law and monitoring of the Council of State Support to NGOs under the Azerbaijani President. The Commission consists  only of members of NGOs, including experts from international organizations.

The problems faced by NGOs, are brought to the president's administration to address them. In addition, at the initiative of the Council for State Support to NGOs a national report on the state of the NGO is under preparation. Last time this report was compiled in 2010. In addition, according to Nuriyev, dialogue with the NGO platform is expanded. In particular, with the participation of 500 NGOs at the end of last year  the  NGO Support Council discussed the question in what areas should be allocated grants allocated from the state budget.

In addition, platforms of cooperation with NGOs on Economic, Social, public relations, the fight against corruption have been created.

Prepared a national action plan for the development of civil society, which is expected in the near future, it will be approved by the President of Azerbaijan. At the national level were reflected NGO proposals to expand public participation, improving legislation, strengthening public control over the financial sector.

Are there any other NGOs, whose bank accounts have not been removed? Answering this question, Nuriyev said that the information on the continuation of the blocking of bank accounts came only from NGOs, led by the lawyer  Mustafayev Asabali and the lawyer Annagi Hajibeyli,

With regard to addressing issues with the registration of grants, then, according to Nuriyev, there is progress in this area.

14 companies have already received notice of the registration of grant contracts signed until 2014. Discussions are continuing regarding the registration of grants of  five other organizations.

In particular  grants allocated to such structures as the EU, the US Embassy, ​​the Marshall Fund, the Organization for Cooperation "Eurasia" have been registered.

When asked what about the lawsuit against NGOs, Nuriyev said that with the exception of cases in which NGOs leaders were arrested, and  have been pardoned there was a concrete case only against the "Society for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights." However, this case was suspended.

As for the decision to release the convicted activists, then, according to  Nuriyev, from the EITI in prison  remain only two activists of PPFA - invalids of Karabakh war Asif Yusifli and deputy chairman of the party Fuad Gahramanli.

With regard to Yusifli, who was sentenced to seven years in prison,  steps are being taken to free him. Gahramanli is under investigation, but his case  is being  considered. There is also a lawsuit against Oktay Gyulalyev, which was launched in 2012. However, in this case there are no active investigations.

"We have raised this issue and look forward to its resolution," Nuriyev said.

At the same time, Nuriyev, as a member of the Commission of Pardons does not intend to stand up for those who are involved in attempts for violent change of power or overthrow the secular constitutional order.

Nuriyev also noted that the equipment and documents seized for the purpose of examination will be returned to the  NGOs.

Nuriyev thus noted that a criminal case was initiated in the framework of Azerbaijan's commitments to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against money laundering and terrorist financing. However, suspicions were not confirmed.

He replied affirmatively to the question of whether foreign NGOs  that were forced to leave Azerbaijan can return to the country. Moreover, according to Nuriyev, foreign NGOs  that do not wish to  be register as a donor in the Ministry of Justice can carry out projects through the Council of State at the NGO that will not interfere with the relationship of donors and partners.

Nuriyev admitted that the problems that have arisen in the registration of grants have contributed to  flow off  to  neighboring countries  the funds by donors intended for  Azerbaijani NGOs.

 He also said that  despite the suspension of the registration of grants in the 2014-2015 donors  allocated to Azerbaijan grants totaling nearly $2 million, but   receiving the  funds by recipients  is not disclosed.

In this regard, Nuriyev called upon NGOs to operate legally. Nuriyev also stressed the need for NGOs non-interference in political activities, the inadmissibility of their fusion with their parties. -06D-

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