A package of measures to address limitations for civil society’s activity

A large group of civil society activists made a package of proposals on improvement of legislation regulating this sphere.   The appeal signed by 29 leaders of NGOs, lawyers, journalists, human rights activists addressed the local, and international public. The proposal is aimed at a free and stable work of civil society organizations. The authors call on the government to consider these proposals and to begin the process of their implementation. In particular, it proposed amendments to the laws "On NGOs", "On Grants", "On voluntary activity", "On freedom of religion", "On the fight against religious extremism", as well as the Criminal Code and the Code of Administrative Offences.

The bulk of the proposals is related to the law "On non-governmental organizations", and in particular the problems with registration and activities of these structures. "All the illegitimate norms impeding the activities of local and foreign non-profit organizations should be eliminated. It is necessary to eliminate the registration system of grants and donations, and the information on received grants and donations should simply be reflected in the annual financial statements. Banking on grants and donations should be free," the document says.

Activists urged the government to abandon the donor registration, and to exclude from legislation all norms that prevent their free activities. It is also proposed to introduce a system of notifying the registration of NGOs, by analogy with the registration of the media.

It is necessary to determine the responsibility for actions that restrict the free operation of NGOs. It is proposed to remove from the legislation restrictive regulations introduced in recent years.

The authors call to cancel changes to the Code of Administrative Offences, the rules on the application of penalties to the donors of the recipient in connection with the issuance and receipt of grants.

It is proposed to withdraw from the Criminal Code new regulations directly restricting the freedom of expression. In particular, the talk  is about criminalizing dissemination of religious materials (printed, audio, video) without permission, for the activities under the guise of religious practices aimed at disturbing public order, religious propaganda and maintenance of Islamic religious ceremonies  by the Azerbaijani citizens  who  got their  education abroad. -06D--

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