The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) strongly condemns the suspension of National Democracy Institute’s Baku office.
The Head of the Baku Office Alex Grigoriyev was summoned to Justice Ministry on March 7 and given a notification letter which said that the office was being shut down. The letter says that Azerbaijani legislation forbids the operation of international organizations that have not registered in Azerbaijan.
IRFS deems this an act of aggression against both local and international civil society. NDI has made numerous appeals for registration, and they have been rejected every time. This case demonstrates the Justice Ministry’s non-neutral position, and suggests that the Ministry is acting in fulfilment of a political directive.
IRFS believes that NDI is being shut down due to its involvement in election monitoring and youth activism. Both areas are sensitive to international criticism, and it seems no coincidence that this coincides with the arrests of youth activists.
IRFS calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to stop such measures and register NDI. IRFS also calls on the international community, particularly the US communit,y to condemn this measure and take steps to prevent it.