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The representatives of the Ministry of Justice were in the IRFS office for an hour and questioned the organisation's employees about the organisation's founders, members, grants, and its legal and actual address. According to IRFS, they presented with a letter, signed by Mehman Soltanov, Deputy Chief of the Registration and Notary Head Office of the Ministry of Justice, stating that the purpose of the inspection was "to determine if IRFS's activities comply with the legislation and the organisation's charter." The letter was addressed to the chairman Emin Huseynov.
We notice a trend from other countries, such as Belarus and the Russian Federation, that tax inspectorate and other administrative agencies are frequently used as administrative instruments to pressure NGOs.
Inspections similar to the one carried out on 29 October 2009 in respect of IRFS unnecessary burdens NGOs and can hinder their ability to carry out their work effectively.
We call upon the Azerbaijani authorities to respect Azerbaijani Constitution, in particular article 58.2 which provides that “unrestricted activity of all unions is ensured,” as well as articles 10 (freedom of expression) and articles 11 (freedom of association) of the European Convention of Human Rights to which Azerbaijan is a party to. In addition to adhere to Azerbaijan’s commitments to “secure freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of the media” undertaken by the country under the National Indicative Programme for the European Neighbourhood and partnership instrument 2007-2010 as well as to UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.