April 13, a day before the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) meeting in Brazzaville a letter signed by more than 280 civil society groups from over 35 countries calls on the EITI to address Azerbaijan's unprecedented crackdown on its independent civil society groups.
The letter urged the initiative’s leadership "to take “the strongest action possible” in response to an unprecedented crackdown on independent civil society organisations in Azerbaijan. The Board is due to address Azerbaijan’s failure to comply with core EITI requirements and principles at its next meeting in Brazzaville on 14-15th of April."
"The situation in Azerbaijan is a test of the Board’s commitment to uphold the new protocol and the requirements and principles in the EITI Standard. Conditions for independent civil society involved in the EITI process in Azerbaijan have continuously deteriorated since February 2014, when the government of Azerbaijan introduced harsh legislative restrictions on civil society organisations (CSOs). The subsequent severe and well-documented crackdown on civil society in Azerbaijan has seriously undermined genuine civil society participation in the EITI process."
Earlier in October 2014, the Chair of the EITI Board, Clare Short, said, "The situation facing civil society in Azerbaijan is clearly problematic" calling for an ealy validation.
In the press statement shared today via Publish What You Pay coalition, Marinke Van Riet, International Director of the coalition and member of the EITI Board said, “Azerbaijan is testing the credibility of the EITI. Civil society activists from all over the world are watching the board and expect us to take strong action. It is the board’s duty to defend basic EITI principles and send a message that restrictions on civil society’s ability to participate effectively in the EITI will not be tolerated.”