NGO Coalition:  the government of Azerbaijan has not fulfilled the requirements of the EITI

On Saturday was held the 171st meeting of the Coalition Council to increase transparency in the extractive industries. According to the press release of this structure, in the course of the meeting the sides discussed issues of preparation for the 36th meeting of the International Board of "Transparency Initiative in the mining industry."

The participants noted with regret that the requirements of the EITI International Board in Astana were not fulfilled by official Baku in October 2016. It was the cancellation of registration of foreign donors, grant agreements and mandatory submission of statements of change of registered NGO data.

On behalf of the coalition also adopted an appeal to the international EITI Board, which referred to the problems of Azerbaijani NGOs participating in this initiative. For example, 30 members of the coalition have not yet received state registration.

 It is impossible to fulfill 12 contracts and amendments thereto, signed until 2014, due to the fact that they are not registered by the Ministry of Justice. Four members of the coalition when going abroad and returning undergo unjustified inspections at the border crossings of Azerbaijan.

From two of the coalition NGO members are not removed tax penalties. Even in the three NGOs the Ministry of Taxes withdrew funds from bank accounts.

Two coalition members illegally convicted are serving prison sentence: Fouad Gahramanli sentenced to 10 years in prison because of Facebook status, and Asif Yusifli serving a 6-year sentence on trumped-up charges, too. Three other members of the coalition cannot return to Azerbaijan because of the prosecution.

Despite the Council elected new members of the coalition in the multilateral group (composed of representatives of the government, a coalition of NGOs and mining companies), they are still not created conditions for work.

Council for State Support to NGOs although the coalition has allocated 15150 AZN (9000 USD), but then unilaterally breached the contract. For the past year, the NGO Coalition for Increasing Transparency operates without financial support.

Despite some simplification of technical procedures and donor registration  and grants, the above three requirements of the international EITI Board  have not been  implemented.

In conclusion, the Coalition called on the international EITI Board to comply with its standards when deciding on the compliance Azerbaijan with the requirements of this structure.—06D--

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