Friday, September 11, 2009
ICNL has published comments on the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan On Making Changes and Amendments to Some Legislative Acts of the Republic of Azerbaijan (hereinafter referred to as the “new law”), which came into effect on September 1, 2009 (the date the new law was published in the official newspaper Azerbaijan). This new law introduces changes and amendments to four laws, including the Law on Non-governmental Organizations (Public Associations and Foundations) (hereinafter the “NGO Law”), the Law on Mass Media, the Law on Grants, and the Code of Administrative Offences. ICNL’s comments focus on the NGO Law amendments. ICNL raises two issues of concern: 1) The introduction of new but undefined financial reporting requirements for Azerbaijani NGOs may create a substantial administrative burden to NGOs; and 2) the institutionalization of the requirement that foreign NGOs operating in Azerbaijan may only operate in Azerbaijan on the basis of an agreement negotiated with a government agency without clear guidance and criteria for the agreement.