Jun 15, 2009
So it seems my favorite Caucasian country (seriously, I love Azerbaijan) is trying to amend a new NGO law that would make civil society work more difficult in the country. How? Well, take a look at some of the ammendments:
- Non-registered NGOs will be banned and administrative action will be brought against their founders (i.e. fine in for of Euro 50 000 and probably detention).
- NGOs can be registered only after the confirmation given by Ministry of Interior and Ministry of National Security.
- If an officially registered NGO does not have branches in one third of administrative districts of Azerbaijani Republic, it will not be allowed to hold any activities in the districts of the country.
- An NGO's budget cannot consist of more than 50% of foreign donations, and as almost all resources available in Azerbaijan are controlled by the government this implies that no civil society support projects can be conducted without the permission from the government.
- Foreign NGOs can operate in Azerbaijan only after bilateral agreement between Azerbaijan and their countries.
Honestly, before I get into what's being done about this, governments around the world, allowing NGOs makes for low-paying jobs that allow semi-academics to work and make enough to eat. Let them have their NGOs. Please.
In any case, several organizations in Azerbaijan have written an appeal to stop these amendments from passing. Find their appeals here and here and for our Azeri speakers, here. If you're convinced, support their cause.