Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI): Uphold EITI rules to stop NGO crackdown in Azerbaijan
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This petition has been created by Zohrab I. and may not represent the views of the Avaaz community.
The climate for NGOs in Azerbaijan has become very hostile. Government pressure increased in 2013 and has strongly intensified this year. Since February the government has applied many measures that severely restrict civil society. The independent groups working on transparency issues are directly affected by these restrictions. Since July a majority of these groups have had to suspend their activities. Many have been forced to close their offices or to cease functioning, in some cases permanently. A number of transparency activists have been personally targeted for persecution.
These actions are totally inconsistent with Azerbaijan’s commitments under EITI, which prohibit obstacles to civic participation in the EITI process. The harsh conditions threaten the functioning and credibility of the EITI. A central requirements of the EITI is an enabling environment for civil society and the active participation of independent groups.
The EITI board should take firm action when it meets in Myanmar on October 14/15, to identify concrete measures the government of Azerbaijan should take without delay to end the crackdown. By presenting clear expections to the government to fully comply with the EITI rules, the board will help defend activists who are under attack and encourage specific, needed changes in Azerbaijan. It also will send a powerful message to EITI participants around the world that respecting the role and rights of civil society representatives is essential, not optional.