Azerbaijan imitates support for civil society

BAKU/29.12.13/TURAN : Azerbaijan  does not have  normal mechanism of government, because there is no democracy , rule of law , respect for the inalienable rights and fundamental freedoms . No transparent market economy , on which information is readily available to the public - and, consequently , there is no progressive development of society , including its civil institutions. This statement was made by the local Coalition " Strengthening the Extractive Industries Transparency " Public Associations , concerned  with the latest changes in legislation on non-governmental organizations , adopted by Parliament on 17 December this year.

According to  it, the political power of the country , which has obligations to international organizations, and stating that these principles are the main political line of development of Azerbaijan , in fact, provides consistent pressure on civil society. An example is politically motivated arrest of the head of the Public Association " Election Monitoring and learning democracy", Anar Mammadov, after unjustified inspections in  his organization.

In addition, the law increased the number of rules that restrict the activities of NGOs , including inadequately increased penalties for them. Thus, legal restrictions on December 17, 2013 contrary to the relevant presidential decree "On approval of the Concept of State Support to NGOs " and " On approval of the National Plan of Action for the Protection of Human Rights" dated 27 July, 2007. The core of both regulations (actually imitation of samples and declarative) is the democratization of public life, strengthening public participation in making important government decisions, improving policy support and advocacy NGOs.

Experts believe that the recent changes in the law extend the capabilities of executive interference in the activities of non-governmental organizations , NGOs capacity to limit the scope , create the preconditions for their closure, which weakens the position of civil society.

"As one of the leading civil society coalitions Azerbaijan,  we declare that the restrictive amendments to the legislation adopted by Parliament without public discussion , is unacceptable and contrary to the commitments made by the government to such authoritative international organizations such as Transparency Initiative Extractive Industries and Open Government Partnership. Toughening of local laws  is direct violation of Article 11 of the European Convention of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms , which provides freedom of assembly and association . Restrictive spirit of the new regulation in the general weakening of the control functions serves society through NGOs , which now  wil not be able  to implement international standards  on an equal terms," said  the statement.

Coalition " Strengthening the Extractive Industries Transparency" Public Associations made ​​the following demands: 1. The head of state should not sign reactionary amendments to the legislation on the activities of NGOs. 2 . Multilateral group " Strengthening the Extractive Industries Transparency " should discuss parliamentary amendments , form and express their position on them. 3. Coalition leadership should analyse the situation and speak at a meeting of the Board Initiative Extractive Industries Transparency and Open Government Partnership .

On  December 17 , the Azerbaijani parliament adopted a series of amendments to the regulations on the activities of NGOs. Thus, Article 7.1-1 of the Law " On the activity of non-governmental organizations" foreign NGOs can create in Azerbaijan only one branch or agency , under Article 30-1.1 , only Justice defines validation rules work of NGOs , their branches and representative offices.

Article 10.5 , in case a violation of the rights of NGO member , the court may suspend the activities of the NGO for up to  one  year. In addition, the court for a period of  one year suspended the activities of NGOs in the implementation of an order preventing cases of emergency, not the elimination of irregularities in its operations after issuing a warning or destination administrative penalties .

If within one year after two written warnings about the lack of elimination , no measures were taken , then the registration of NGOs may be liquidated by a court on the proposal of the relevant executive authority. - 17D-

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