Azerbaijan, Baku / corr. Trend A.Gasimova / Fighting corruption and increasing transparency in local government are the main objectives of an Anti-corruption Legal Advocacy Centre (ALAC) that opened in the north-western Azerbaijani city of Sheki on 16 March. The event is part of a joint program of the OSCE Office in Baku and the NGO Transparency Azerbaijan, and follows the opening of four other anti-corruption centres in Baku, Ganja, Guba and Lenkaran. "Corruption prevents the efficient functioning of a market economy and imposes an unfair economic burden on the most vulnerable groups of society," said Ambassador Jose-Luis Herrero, the Head of the OSCE Office. According to him, this centre will be instrumental in dealing with cases at the local level and in empowering ordinary people with tools to achieve success in the sustained fight against corruption.
A toll-free hotline has been established in the Centre to help victims report corruption cases and receive legal advice on their rights. The ALAC will also offer professional legal support to citizens to help them file and pursue complaints, provide support to authorities to strengthen their capacity to process complaints, and support the public administration system in enforcing the recently adopted anti-corruption legislation.