INSTITUTE FOR REPORTERS’ FREEDOM AND SAFETY STATEMENT

February 10th, 2011
The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) strongly condemns the proposal to subject all non-governmental organizations to auditing and to impose financial penalties on those who do not comply.

IRFS deems this proposal an act of aggression towards NGO activity.
According to the draft additions and amendments of the Code of Administrative Offences submitted to Parliament, NGOs will be subjected to auditing, and non-compliant organisations will be fined.
IRFS states that practices of this kind are not implemented in other countries: auditing is usually implemented annually, and done voluntarily by the NGOs themselves. IRFS also notes that because this is not normal international practice, international donor bodies do not allocate funds for NGOs to implement auditing.
 IRFS believes that it is not right that NGOs and commercial organizations are subject to the same demands, given that the financial resources of NGOs are more limited.
IRFS believes that the obligatory audit practices will reduce the effectiveness of NGO projects, which will threaten their operation. Not all NGOs implement high-budget projects, and therefore implementing audit requirements and fining non-compliant NGOs is a non-sensical move.
IRFS calls on the National Assembly of the Republic of Azerbaijan to consider the role NGOs play in public life and their limited financial resources when considering this measure.
IRFS also calls on the President’s Office to refrain from drafting and/or implementing this type of legislation.