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The authorities will ignore the recommendations of the Council of Europe on the problems of NGOs - an expert

2017 April 24 ( Monday )  16:26:35
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Русский Azərbaycan

Baku / 24.04.17 / Turan: Recommendations on bringing the legislation and practice of Azerbaijan in the field of NGOs in line with European standards fully reflect the problems of civil society and contain measures to eliminate them, said the member of the Platform for Civil Society, head of the Institute of Democratic Initiatives Akif Gurbanov in an interview with the Cətin sual (Difficult Question) program of Turan agency. The recommendations are prepared "thoroughly", but it is unlikely that the authorities will implement them, as was said by government and parliament representatives during the presentation of recommendations last week.

The position of the authorities is the same as a year ago, when the Council of Europe's project on dialogue with civil society began and nothing has changed during this time. So, for registration of NGOs, a letter from the relevant executive authority is required. The executive authorities should give an opinion on the appropriateness of the activities of NGOs in this field, which contradicts the European concept of free activity of civil society.

European experts also called for eliminating the requirements for registration of grants and foreign donors. There are also absurd restrictions on the participation of foreigners in the establishment of NGOs, which in their essence are non-profit structures. At the same time, foreigners can calmly establish commercial structures and earn money, which if followed the logic of the authorities, can be used to finance terrorism. Gurbanov considers not justified and the requirements for transferring private donations to NGOs through banks.

The situation will not change if the authorities do not give up the perception of independent NGOs, like the fifth column. "The government looks at NGOs, no longer as opponents, but as enemies, seeing them as a threat to themselves. After the change of power in Ukraine, the authorities are afraid that NGOs can be used for the revolution, which is absurd. The authorities have virtually eliminated political parties and independent media and now want to crack down on NGOs, as with the last bastion of their criticism," Gurbanov said. According to him, the authorities are likely to ignore the recommendations of the Council of Europe experts or accept some unprincipled proposals. In order to radically change the situation, international organizations must explain to the authorities in a very clear language the need for change, Gurbanov said.

* These recommendations were developed by international experts in the framework of the project "Dialogue with the Civil Society of Azerbaijan, implemented by the Council of Europe with the support of the EU. However, they did not arouse the enthusiasm of official Baku, which made it clear that he did not intend to implement these councils. In 2013-2014 years. A number of changes were made to the laws on NGOs, grants, state registration and a register of legal entities that paralyzed the activities of civil society. These innovations led to the virtual cessation of the activities of foreign donors in Azerbaijan. To date, the only donor of civil society, where there are practically no independent NGOs, but only pro-government ones, is the Council for State Support of NGOs under the President. It's not difficult to guess who they finance. -03B06-

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