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President Ilham Aliyev has signed the odious amendments to the Law on Non-Governmental Organizations (Public Unions and Foundations), that would further entrench Azerbaijan status as an authoritarian state. will prevent people from exercising their right to freedom of association envisaged in Article 58 of the Republic of Azerbaijan’s Constitution, and right to freedom of assembly and association envisaged in Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Azerbaijan’s freedom of expression watchdog, Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) considers the bill to be the latest authoritarian step against civil society and believes it would further entrench Azerbaijan status as a non-free country. A full statement from IRFS will be released tomorrow (March 12, 2013).
Background: In its February 15th plenary meeting Azerbaijani Parliament adopted amendments to the Law on Grants and the Law on Non-Governmental Organizations by a majority vote. They stipulate that NGOs receiving donations in any form of a value greater than 200 AZN (approximately 255 USD or 190 EUR) without a formal agreement could face massive fines and confiscation of property.
Note that not long ago civil society representatives sent an appeal to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev with a request not to approve the amendments.