Thirty members of the International Freedom of Expression eXchange have signed on to a joint letter to Azerbaijan’s parliamentary chairman deploring the proposed changes to the Azerbaijan Republic Law on Non-governmental Organisations.
“We, the undersigned members of the International Freedom of Expression eXchange (IFEX), express our grave concern about the proposed changes to the Azerbaijan Republic Law on Non-governmental Organisations that are slated to be discussed in an extraordinary session of Azerbaijan's Parliament (Milli Mejlis) on 19 June 2009,” it is written in the letter. “A number of these proposed changes threaten to eradicate independent non-governmental organisations in Azerbaijan, including those that protect freedom of expression.”
The signatories of the letter call for:
1) Azerbaijan's Milli Mejlis not to adopt the proposed changes and amendments to the Azerbaijan Republic Law on Non-governmental Organisations in their current form;
2) Further public discourse on the proposed changes, in particular via the publicly-funded print and broadcast media;
3) Elimination of those proposed changes that violate the ICCPR, the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and international obligations that Azerbaijan has undertaken before the Council of Europe, European Union, United Nations, OSCE and other international bodies;
4) A transparent policy-making process involving law makers, government officials, representatives of civil society and citizens of Azerbaijan
The letter was composed at the initiative of IFEX-member Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety, and signed by many well-known national and international organizations, including the Committee to Protect Journalists, International Press Institute, PEN, Freedom House, World Association of Newspapers, World Press Freedom Committee and so on.
The letter can be viewed here: http://www.ifex.org/azerbaijan/2009/06/17/changes_to_ngo_law/