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Allegations about crackdown on civil society institutions in Azerbaijan are biased and unfounded

Head of the Presidential Administration’s department for socio-political affairs Ali Hasanov`s interview to AzerTAc

- Today some circles in the West, foreign organizations and media outlets claim that situation of human rights in Azerbaijan is worsening, civil society institution are cracked down. What is your opinion on these allegations?

- The main aim of the policy pursued by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev is to make Azerbaijan the strong, developed, modern and influential country. We believe that for the past 10 years, important successes have been achieved in this direction. One of the major goals set in the past period was to build the democratic society based on civic initiatives and shape the strong democratic society based on political pluralism. To this end, the legislation was gradually brought in line with international standards and obstacles to the development of political parties, NGOs and media were eliminated, and they received comprehensive state support.

It is not a secret that one of the serious factors impeding development of civil society institutions is frequent violation of laws in this field – lack of transparency, incompliance of the financial and accounting system to the most basic requirements etc. Using existing gaps, some foreign and internal circles broke the local laws by interfering into the activity of political parties, NGOs and media, financed them through different ways. Some NGOs used the “public diplomacy” term to establish cooperation with local organizations controlled by aggressive Armenia’s special forces and expressed interests of the enemy. The saddest thing is that NGOs and individuals of such type, some journalists who relied on the financing from foreign circles, put themselves above national legislation, evaded taxes, registration of their grant projects, submission of financial reports and implementation of other legal demands of the government. Adequate steps of governmental bodies are, unfortunately, portrayed by these circles as “pressure on the civil society”, “restrictions” of activity of NGO and media with purposeful slanderous campaign launched against Azerbaijan.

We believe that allegations of some western circles, some foreign organizations and media bodies on the ostensible use of “authoritarian”, “dictatorial” and similar methods of rule are unfounded and biased.

Respective conditions for the free activity of the civil society institutions have been fully ensured in Azerbaijan from the legislative and practical points of view. The main requirement of the government is that misuse of democratic freedoms must be avoided, rule of law must be ensured. The laws demand that the NGOs act on their own statutes, deeply comprehend their obligations and legal liability, perform the public control function in a healthy manner, say “No” to those who attract them into politics and wish to make them the appendage of political parties, cheap tool in the anti-Azerbaijani activity of some foreign circles.