Parliament tightens the requirements for foreign donors

The Milli Majlis amended the legislation on NGOs introducing toughened conditions for the activities of foreign donors. In particular, amendments were adopted to the laws "On the non-governmental organizations (public associations and foundations)" and "On Grants."

Thus, the new wording of Article 24.2 of the Law "On NGOs" reads that the work and services provided by NGOs due to external sources of finance should be based on contracts that are registered in the Ministry of Justice. For operation without registration requires  administrative responsibility.

Amendment to the Article 2 of the Law "On Grants"  reads that foreign donor may give a grant, obtaining the opinion of the executive power of Azerbaijan on the appropriateness of a particular project.

The procedure of the issue of grants is determined by the relevant executive authority of Azerbaijan, which also defines the procedure for registration of grants. Commenting on these amendments, experts note that they should be entitled to be a donor, and then prove the feasibility of financing the project, and then the grantee must register it with the Ministry of Justice.

The authorities motivate innovation  by  necessary transparency and targeted use of grants, as well as the need for a large external financing NGOs. Local NGOs are invited to use the services of the NGO  Council on State Support, whose budget is expected to expand.

However, the Council would unlikely fund projects to protect the rights of political prisoners, the availability of which the power rejects, or  will support corruption investigation by the state agencies.

During the parliamentary debates a MP Iqbal Aghazadeh said that the Council for State Support to NGOs does not provide grants for independent NGOs criticizing the authorities. Therefore, innovations will worsen the hardships in the civilian sector. This vice-speaker of Parliament Bahar Muradova said that NGOs receiving grants from foreign donors, "dance to their tune."

"Now who wants let works with us and receives grants from the NGOs Council on State Support.Who does not want, let they o to the foreign patrons," Muradova said.

Thus, the authorities continue a line on the survival of independent NGOs. They have either make a bow to  the authorities, or to close.

Attempts to pass by the new rules are fraught with punitive measures. Thus, more than 20 NGOs, which the government has not registered, already faced a criminal prosecution, and some leaders were arrested. -06D-

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