The National Dialogue in the Republic of Azerbaijan to strengthen cooperation between civil society and decision-makers, including Members of Parliament, and to ensure meaningful engagement of CSOs in TB response, conducted by TB Europe Coalition in December 2019, continues to bear its fruits.

On April 23, 2020, TB Azerbaijan NGO Coalition had an online meeting with
Razi Nurullayev, a member of Parliament in the Republic of Azerbaijan on the topic “Addressing TB and COVID-19 related social issues in the Republic of Azerbaijan”.

During this call further issues were discussed:

  • Organization of effective CSOs’ activities during COVID-19 lockdown;
  • What can civil society do to improve social situation in the country – suggestions were presented by the Coalition members.

MP Razi Nurullayev had a great speech, on April 24, 2020, in the Parliament regarding access of NGOs in the Republic of Azerbaijan to the international funds to support socially vulnerable population during COVID-19 lockdown.

He stressed that foreign donors allocated billions to coronavirus response for countries, however CSOs in the Republic of Azerbaijan cannot apply to these grants because of the grant registration barriers in the legislation.

He shared the speech on his official Facebook page and we would like to share it widely.

Translation from Azerbaijani: “There are two thesis. First, the legal restrictions on public organizations should be completely removed. Second, billions of dollars have been allocated to fight the coronavirus around the world. Why are our organizations prevented from receiving funding from those funds and helping people who are in need? 

One of President Ilham Aliyev’s favorite and most used words is “public control”.  And it is implemented by civil society organizations. It is well known that restrictive amendments have been made to the law on NGOs. Public organizations are able to breathe only thanks to the Council on the State Support to NGOs under the auspices of the President. Restrictions prohibit the receipt of funds from foreign foundations. As a result of this ban, professional public control has disappeared. It was claimed that these restrictions made because some organizations spent the grant funds in favor of revolutions.

What happened? Organizations that are said to be working against the state can still be funded. What else has changed? Instead, all neutral and professional organizations have disappeared. I propose to completely remove these restrictions. I did some research and saw that billions of dollars were spent around the world to fight the coronavirus. Why shouldn’t our CSOs use these funds to aid to the socially vulnerable population? After all, why should the government be burdened with every problem? Why do we not use available resources?

At the same time, I propose to stimulate the creation of funds under the private companies, so that the funds transferred to the CSOs would be completely exempt from taxes. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation provides very helpful assistance. It is a very nice and welcome initiative, and I thank to First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva for that. Let the public funds that companies create also help thousands of families. There is a need to legalize this issue. And the tradition has already formed by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation”.

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