We must return international donors in Azerbaijan
In an interview with Turan and "Voice of America" the coordinator of the Civil Society Forum of the EU program "Eastern Partnership", head of the Society for Humanitarian Studies Avaz Hasanov spoke about the difficulties civil society of the country faced.
Until February 4, 2014 in Azerbaijan were the conditions for the activities of international NGOs: they were freely could implement their projects with local partners. But after that the situation deteriorated, and state registration of projects of international donors in Azerbaijan was banned, Hasanov said.
Beings asked On the question of what are now engaged in foreign NGOs in Azerbaijan, Hasanov said that deals with issues of democracy, human rights, elections and conflict resolution simply closed their offices and programs. They only attract individual experts and carry out monitoring in Azerbaijan, and nothing more.
Asking the question why the offices were closed, Hasanov said that this was an expression of policy of the state. The biggest limitation concerned organizations in the field of human rights and elections, and above all, American.
After the repression of the local partners, foreign donors simply do not have anyone to work in Azerbaijan. Especially after the arrests and criminal cases against civil society. Thus, the implementation and financing of projects in the field of human rights and democracy has become almost impossible.
Being asked what is the way out, Hasanov said that colleagues do their best to release the convicted activists.
"To resolve the situation without their release is not possible, and of course, the imposition of restrictions must be eliminated. The authorities should allow international organizations to return back to the country to work with civil society. However, it is hardly possible under severe restrictions." It is necessary to take into account the fact that the focus of attention has shifted from Western donors of the South Caucasus to Syria, Ukraine and Moldova.
"The state itself should be interested in the return of the international organizations in Azerbaijan, should create conditions for their activities, eliminate restrictions on their registration. If the state eliminates for 3-4 years cameral tax inspection of business, why it is necessary to restrict the activities of NGOs? The government should realize this, and do everything possible for the formation of positive attitudes towards civil society," concluded Hasanov.
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