The Freedom of Association in Azerbaijan: Compliance with the Council of Europe and OSCE Standards on Legal Status of NGOs

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This policy brief aims to learn the compliance of the legislation regulating the activities of the local and international NGOs with the Council of Europe and OSCE standards and the
shortcomings in this regard. In particular, by analyzing the legal norms regarding the
registration, financing and sanctions on the activities of local and international NGOs in
Azerbaijan, the restrictive amendments to the NGO legislation were introduced in the last three years without taking into consideration the commitments of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the recommendations of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Bureau and the noncompliance of these provisions with the commitments assumed by Azerbaijan before the Council of Europe and OSCE on the protection of freedom of association. As a result of the growing legal and political constraints in the recent years, as the prestigious international NGOs have left the country and the activities of the most local NGOs are highly restricted, this document suggests that the Azerbaijani authorities first should demonstrate the political will to ensure the freedom of association in the country. Moreover, for the legal reforms the current legislation should be adjusted to the Council of Europe and OSCE standards, take into account the recommendations of civil society and international organizations and should not refuse to cooperate with the stakeholders who are interested in this area and create the political environment for dialogue between citizens and the state.

The Freedom of Association in Azerbaijan: Compliance with the Council of Europe and OSCE Standards on Legal Status of NGOs