EBRD loan for Azerbaijan lost opportunity - HRW

Baku / 24.10.17 / Turan: Amelia Neumayer,an employee for the business and g human rights, Human Rights Watch (HRW), said that the allocation of a loan from the EBRD for the construction of a gas pipeline to Europe was a missed opportunity to influence the necessary reforms in Azerbaijan.


In the article "Azerbaijan received a loan of 500 million US dollars for gas transportation", posted on the website of HRW, Neumayer notes that the EBRD could use the issue of a loan to promote reforms as a leverage, but missed this opportunity.

The bank decided to lend, although the International Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) recently suspended activities of Azerbaijan, because the government did not stop fighting with civil society groups. And this decision was supported by the EBRD.

The bank's decision was expected earlier this year, but was postponed when Azerbaijan was removed from the EITI in March, and then stopped work. The EITI is a coalition of governments, corporations and independent groups that promotes better governance of resource-rich countries by encouraging open public debate about how oil, gas, and mining revenues are used.

The EBRD endorsed this EITI decision and is the only multilateral development bank that has a political mandate that includes the principles of "multi-party democracy and pluralism". The bank knew that this was happening, at least, since 2014, when its country strategy for Azerbaijan clearly recognized the bad reputation of Azerbaijan in the implementation of its obligations in the field of human rights.

The author of the article with skepticism perceives the EBRD's statement that Azerbaijan will continue to adhere to the principles of transparency similar to the EITI: "This is difficult to understand, given the suppression of civil society and new allegations of mass corruption. The bank's decision was made a few weeks after the Guardian reported on the investigation, according to which for two years Azerbaijan used 2.9 billion dollars to bribe European politicians, including to bleach the report on human rights. " -0-

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