Authorities Start Registration of Independent NGOs

After 17 years, the Ministry of Justice has registered the NGO "In the name of democratic values", which is headed by the human rights activist Oktay Gyulalyev.

This sensational news was reported to Turan IA by the human rights activist himself, for whom the information on the registration of the NGO was totally unexpected. However, as noted Gyulalyev, the Ministry of Justice illegally changed the name of the social structure by issuing a document on the organization of "Support to development".

"Moreover, the Ministry of Justice also changed the aims and objectives of our organization. So, we are proposed to engage in economic research. We do not mind - let's find out the fate of 150 billion dollars of oil money! Let’s find out the causes of the rampant corruption and monopoly and the huge polarization between rich and poor in Azerbaijan!” Gyulalyev said.

The human rights activist noted that during these 17 years, he submitted documents for registration ten times, but the Ministry of Justice ignored them.

That changed on the eve of a decision on the status of Azerbaijan in the Extracting Industry Transparency Initiative. This authoritative international organization lowered the status of Azerbaijan due to the repression by the authorities against NGOs half a year ago. They demanded Baku should put  an end to repression and create the conditions for civil society, otherwise Azerbaijan was threatened with exclusion from the Initiative.

Realizing that this development promises a serious problem for the government, the authorities made some steps in order to avoid sanctions. However, the Initiative is not satisfied with half-measures and the Baku authorities have been given several months to remedy the situation.

With regard to Gyulalyev, the authorities also closed the criminal case initiated against him in 2012, when he was investigating corruption in the solution of problems of flood victims on the Kura River.

Besides him, the authorities registered 17 more NGOs in the coalition for Extractive Industry Transparency, said Gyulalyev. However, another 18 NGOs remain unregistered.

In addition, the authorities have not removed legal and tax penalties from dozens of NGOs and their leaders. One of the main problems - a ban on the receipt of foreign grants by independent NGOs – also remains unsolved.   -03B-

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