SOUTH CAUCASUS NETWORK OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS STATESMENT

January 21st, 2010
The South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders condemns the tax inspection conducted at the Democracy and NGO Development Resource Centre in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic that began on 5 January and assesses this as a form of pressure on the NGO.

The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic tax Ministry employees are trying to find out who cooperate with this NGO within the framework of the projects carried out by the Resource Centre. In addition, the NGO’s leadership has not been given any information about why this examination is being conducted and when it will end.
The South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders considers that the leadership of the Autonomous Republic aims to cease the operation of the Democracy and NGO Development Resource Centre which is managed by outspoken human rights defenders Melahet Nasibova and Ilgar Nasibov.
The South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders notes that this is not the first time that pressure has been used against the Democracy and NGO Development Resource Centre. On 15 December 2009, Ilgar Nasibov, who had been conducting surveys regarding corruption facts among students and teachers in the universities of Nakhchivan, was insulted by the leadership of Nakhchivan State University and then beaten by the sport faculty’s teachers and students brutally. Instead of supervising the investigation regarding this incident, the leadership of the Autonomous Republic began a smear campaign against the Democracy and NGO Development Resource Centre. After this case the Autonomous Republic’s delegation in Baku and the Autonomous Republic Interior Affairs Ministry disseminated a joint statement stating that the Democracy and NGO Development Resource Centre does not have state registration and operates illegally. In response, the leadership of the Democracy and NGO Development Resource Centre said that the organization was officially registered in the Ministry of Justice in 2004.   Then the Ministry of Tax of the Autonomous Republic began a tax inspection into the organization.
The South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders calls on the leadership of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic to end unfounded tax controls in the Democracy and NGO Development Resource Centre and pressure against civil society.
The South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders demands that the leadership of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic create a normal environment for the operation of human rights defenders and journalists, investigate harassment against them, and bring the perpetrators to responsibility.