Archive for the ‘Papers’ Category

What is needed for the sustainable resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

081414_0In April of this year, hundreds of soldiers and civils were killed in the deadliest four-day war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This was the most deadliest since the ceasefire signed in 1994. The incident, which both side blamed each other in stirring, also showed that how “frozen” Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can escalate beyond control and bring both sides into full scale war in matter of days destabilizing whole South Caucasus region. The status-quo lasting for more than 20 years now increases tension between two countries threatening the region with military conflict and sustainable solution to the conflict should be found.

The military conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia broke out after ethnically Armenian population of the Nagorno-Karabakh, autonomous republic within borders of Azerbaijan, raised claims of unification with Armenia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Raised tensions spiraled into full scale military conflict which resulted in around 30,000 deaths from both sides and over a million of refugees and displaced persons from Azerbaijan. Today, the Nagorno-Karabakh is self-proclaimed republic not recognized by any country including Armenia, while 22 years of peace talks yielded no results. Read more »

Tourism in Azerbaijan: Is an Arab tourist a threat to security?

banknews-az_2016-08-29_08-09-56Azerbaijan is an attractive country for foreign visitors with its natural charm and historic-cultural heritage. 9 out of 11 of the world’s climate zones are found in Azerbaijan where a unique architecture and culture, diversity, cuisine, nature, beach, attractions, hunting etc. add value to the tourism of the country. The climate of Azerbaijan also offers opportunities for summer and winter holidays. Given the dipping oil and gas prices which have been the major profits for the state budget for years, we can predict the government’s priority for further development of the tourism industry. The influx of foreign visitors has been on the rise particularly since 2011, and the number has reached 2.2 mln. Read more »

Dual standards in Armenia Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

shushaNagorno-Karabakh is a frozen ethnic conflict between the Republic of Armenia and Azerbaijan that started in the late 1980s, and which has been continuing up until now with the occupation of the Karabakh region and the 7 surrounding districts by the Armenian-backed Karabakh separatists. The conflict has its roots dating back to the early 20th century, yet the full escalation of tensions and bloody events took place in the early 1990s. The conflict is still governed by the separatist regime (breakaway government) of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic with full support of Armenia. The most dynamic phase of the conflict was 1988-1994. During this period, Azerbaijan has undergone a serious ethnic cleansing (around 10% of its population) and massacre along with the annexation of its territories by Armenia. A ceasefire agreement was signed in May 1994 with the mediation of Russia. Sporadic events and skirmishes have happened ever since the signing of the ceasefire agreement, however the conflict has never gone into an active phase. The USA, France and Russia several times came up with a road map to achieve a full settlement of the conflict, however, the problem still remains unresolved, where a fragile ceasefire is regularly violated and the 2 parties are technically at war. Read more »

Azerbaijan-EU relations within Eastern Partnership: new realities and current standing

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The Eastern Partnership program (EP) is a joint initiative involving the EU, its member states and 6 eastern European partners: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and  Ukraine and is based on commitment to the principles of international law and fundamental values – democracy, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms. It also encompasses support for a market economy, sustainable development and good governance. The EU is seeking to build a close relationship with Azerbaijan toward gradual economic integration and a deepening of political cooperation. The relations between the European Union and Azerbaijan go back to the early 90’s. Following the Partnership & Cooperation Agreement that entered into force in 1999 the EU engaged further with Azerbaijan through its European Neighborhood Policy in 2003. The final step of the relations between Azerbaijan and the EU was the Eastern Partnership program that was signed in May 2009. Read more »

Turkey-Russia rapprochement: implications for Azerbaijan’s Euro-integration

Razi Nurullayev, founder and senior expert with “Region” International Analytical Centre (RIAC)

Razi Nurullayev, founder and senior expert with “Region” International Analytical Centre (RIAC)

31 yanvar 2015.

On Dec. 1, 2014 Russian President Vladimir Putin paid an official visit to Ankara, where he met with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to discuss primarily the trade-and-economic and energy matters. In the joint press-conference, Putin announced that Russia would not continue building the South Stream, the $45 billion pipeline that aimed at bringing Russian gas to the EU bypassing Ukraine, due to the EU’s Third Energy Package and competition requirements. Putin also made a surprising announcement that Russia would extend the existing Blue Stream gas pipeline to Turkey and build a new energy hub on the Turkish-Greek border. The new pipeline will be able to deliver 63 billion cubic meters of gas annually, 14 bcm of which will be delivered to Turkey at 6 percent discounted prices. Read more »

AZERBAIJAN AT CROSS-ROADS: EUROPEAN UNION OR EURASIAN UNION

Razi Nurullayev, political scientist, founder and expert with the "REGION" International Analytical Center (RIAC)

Razi Nurullayev, political scientist, founder and expert with the “REGION” International Analytical Center (RIAC)

In January 2014, in the World Economic Forum in Davos, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev stated that Azerbaijan was not going to sign the Association Agreement with the EU. “Today there’s no necessity for our country to choose between cooperation with EU and Customs Union. We have very active bilateral relations with the members of Customs Union. Our trade turnover is growing and in general the political contacts are at the high level. Some choices or alternatives were never in question for us. We cooperate with both Custom Union members and EU members”, – President Aliyev said.

In the light of recent military intervention of Russia in the Georgia and Ukraine, two countries that chose the path of Euro-integration, there are wide-spread fears that Azerbaijan may be the next target if the country signs the association agreement. Therefore, the government decided to sign non-binding and less comprehensive the Strategic Modernization Partnership. Read more »

How can donors work with NGO? – Policy Brief, Recommendations

pear-small-eng copy“Region” International Analytical Center (RIAC) and Human Rights and Enlightenment Public Union proposed offers for donors by conducting donor analysis based on the new situation with civil society  

Background

Civil society development process had started in paralel with the establishment of independent Azerbaijan. In particular, the development of NGOs, one of the leading subjects of civil society started in this stage. Quantitative and qualitative increase of NGOs, its formalisation as an institution started to expand in the middle of 90s and became already well established structure  at the end of the century. Read more »

New Situation with Civil Society in Azerbaijan – Policy Brief

region logo-Aze“Region” International Analytical Center (RIAC) in partnership with Human Rights and Enlightenment Public Union

 POLICY BRIEF

 23 October 2014

Baku, Azerbaijan

 Who will be the relevant executive authority: Government or NGO Council?

Additions and amendments were made a few times to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Grants” and the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Non Governmental Organizations (public unions and funds) adopted by the National Assembly (Milli Majlis) of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 1998. Amendments to the latter were made on 21st of December in 2009. Amendments to the Law “On Grant” were made on 15th of February in 2013 and 17th of December in 2013.

However, these amendments made an impact on the general process; it did not lead to the reasonable problems in the activity of NGOs, discrimination of foreign donors. Amendments mainly covered financial accountability, prohibition of donation and funds received without contract. But it is not excluded that amendments made to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Grants” at the National Assembly of the Republic of Azerbaijan on 17 October 2014, will make troubles for the activities of NGOs. At the same time, this situation will set serious hindrances to the activity of foreign donors. Additions and amendments have already been adopted by the parliament. They will be applied after the approval by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Principal issues in the new additions and amendments are as follows:

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Vətəndaş cəmiyyətinin yolunda yeni qanun: irəliyə, yoxsa geriyə addım…

Logo“Region” Beynəlxalq Analitik Mərkəz (RBAM) ve İnsan Hüquqları və Maarifçilik İctimai Birliyi vətəndaş cəmiyyəti ilə bağlı yeni situasiyanı analiz edib və təkliflər hazırlayıb

Müvafiq İcra hakimiyyəti kim olacaq: Hökumət, yoxsa QHT Şurası?

1998-ci ildə Azərbaycan Respublikası Milli Məclisi tərəfindən qəbul edilən “Qrant haqqında” Azərbaycan Respublikasının qanununa və “Qeyri-hökumət təşkilatları (ictimai birliklər və fondlar) haqqında” Azərbaycan Respublikası Qanununa bir neçə dəfə əlavə və dəyişikliklər edilmişdir. Sonuncuya dəyişikliklər 21 dekabr 2009-cu ildə edilib. “Qrant haqqında” qanuna isə 15 fevral 2013-cü il və 17 dekabr 2013-cü illərdə dəyişikliklər edilib. 

Bu dəyişikliklər ümumi prosesə təsir etsə də, QHT-lərin fəaliyyətində əsaslı problemlərə, xarici donorların diskriminasiyasına səbəb olmamışdır. Dəyişikliklər, əsasən maliyyə hesabatlılığı, müqaviləsiz alınan ianələrin və ya vəsaitlərin qadağan olunmasını nəzərdə tuturdu. Lakin 2014-cü il oktyabr ayının 17-də Azərbaycan Respublikasının Milli Məclisində “Qrant haqqında” Azərbaycan Respublikasının Qanununa edilən əlavə və dəyişikliklərin QHT-lərin fəaliyyətində problemlər yaradacağı istisna deyil. Bu vəziyyət eyni zamanda xarici donorların da fəaliyyətinə ciddi maneçilik yaradacaq. Artıq Qanuna əlavə və düzəlişlər parlament tərəfindən qəbul edilib. Azərbaycan Respublikasının Prezidenti tərəfindən təsdiq edildikdən sonra tətbiq olunacaq. Yeni əlavə və dəyişikliklərdəki prinsipial məqamlar bunlardır:

Civil society weakening in Azerbaijan is a threat to democracy

Razi Nurullayev, founder and senior expert with “Region” International Analytical Centre (RIAC)

Razi Nurullayev, founder and senior expert with “Region” International Analytical Centre (RIAC)

Interview of Razi Nurullayev, founder and senior expert with “Region” International Analytical Centre (RIAC) on civil society in Azerbaijan and faced problems for media in Baku, Azerbaijan

Question: How do you evaluate the civil society environment in Azerbaijan? Some NGOs say the situation keeps being very critical and they closed their NGOs. Would you close your organization?

Answer: First, I have to admit that the situation is indeed critical. Already for more than 4-5 months, the NGOs have been living up to stagnation and uncertainty.

Many NGOs have hardships to receive approval letters from the Ministry Of Justice to withdraw grant money from the banks. The NGOs also have trouble to verify the translated grant contracts in notary offices. There are cases, when NGOs had to go to notary offices for days and were rejected verification under different excuses. There are notary offices that spend hours to dig in the contracts to find petty faults in order just to ground their rejection for verification. Some donors, like European Commission have contracts exceeding 100 pages, some contract pages count to around 200. However, the major grant conditions and rules count 4-5 pages. The remaining part of the contracts ae just common for all and usually are about environmental, social and other responsibilities, liabilities, and conditionality. They are not so important for verification. NGOs have to spend 10 to 15 Euro for each page’s translation and from 2-3 Euro for each page’s notary verification. If the same donor has allocated 15 grants to NGOs, why each individual NGO should translate the same text of 150 to 200 pages in different translation offices and verify it in different notary offices, where they find a contact to try to ease the process of verification as usually notary offices reject it. How logical is the process and forcing the NGOs to spend unjustified costs for no reason?

Bank problems is of another priority for concern. There are banks that refuse to open bank accounts for civil society organizations. However, there are banks that they do open and do not create any problems. It turns out that there are no political instructions to banks not to open bank accounts for NGOs. A number of banks in Azerbaijan wish to be more catholic than the Catholics themselves (Azerbaijani proverb). For example, Access Bank refused to open a bank account for “Region” International Analytical Center (RIAC) after it has closed its bank account in Respublika bank, which raised over 80 times the service tariffs for NGOs just to force them to close their bank accounts. All the NGOs closed their bank accounts in this bank. Access bank’s refusal created a lightning effect for me as its slogan was “Your European Bank”. However, it is no longer and its slogan is not justified itself to be so.

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