Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 4
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:
A report to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on NGO activities in Europe, which criticises Azerbaijan, fails to deal with the issues of transparency and foreign-funding, Azerbaijani delegate to PACE Elkhan Suleymanov said today, an article posted at prnewswire.com says.
He said that the PACE document does not provide the complete picture.
"On the issue of "so-called political prisoners" from some international NGOs, PACE needs to wait for the different report prepared by Pedro Agramunt, another PACE rapporteur of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights," Suleymanov said.
He said that the findings of both rapporteurs are needed for a unified approach to NGOs in Azerbaijan.
"The majority of alleged political prisoners (in Azerbaijan) were imprisoned on charges of tax evasion and illegal entrepreneurship," he said. "These tax evasion matters are for the most part linked to "funding from abroad and not declaring it."
"Azerbaijan wants all financing of local NGOs by foreign sources to be transparent and therefore officially declared," Suleymanov said. "This is the rule for all PACE member states."
Suleymanov said any list of so-called political prisoners compiled by an NGO is invariably a political and not a legal document.
He further warned that mature democracies need to appreciate just how much NGOs can destabilise a young nation with the aid of foreign benefactors.
"Why are activists from such a small country receiving such huge foreign grants?" Suleymanov asked. "Rapporteur Agramunt himself raised this issue."