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Saturday, May 07, 2005


Azerbaijan: NGOs have problems registering

A new OSCE report (PDF format) criticises Azerbaijan's procedures for registering non-governmental organisations.

Problems discovered during the monitoring can be classified as follows:
1. Rejection of registration on irrelevant grounds;
2. Failure of the Ministry of Justice to keep to the timelines of the registration
3. Prolongation of periods for consideration of documents for up to 30 days
without showing of any grounds;
4. Centralized registration of NGOs by the central registration body of the
Ministry of Justice located in Baku.

The authors recommend the following:
1. NGO registrations should be carried out not only by the central registration
office but also by regional departments of the State Register of Legal
2. The registration procedure should be significantly simplified and the
amount of documents required for submission limited.
3. A preliminary review by the registration body should be carried out to
provide an opportunity for the applicant to submit missing documents and
correct obvious shortcomings in the submissions.
4. The following amendments to the Law on State Registration and State
Register of Legal Entities are necessary:
a. The law should clearly and correctly specify in which cases it
should be possible to rectify the shortcomings, and which are the
reasons for the rejection of a registration. Shortcomings which can
be rectified during the registration procedure and grounds for
rejection should be provided separately in the law. Such an
amendment would not allow the registration body to consider a
shortcoming which could be corrected as a ground for rejection.
b. Deadlines set for the registration process should be considerably
shortened. If the initial period for the examination of documents is
specified as 30 days, then an extension of the period by 15 days
rather than 30 days should be considered more reasonable. This
suggestion would prevent formal answers and unnecessary
prolongations of consideration periods. Furthermore, it would be
reasonable to set shorter deadlines for the correction of
shortcomings. i.e., rather 10 days than 20, since 10 days will be
sufficient to correct an inaccuracy. In addition, there is no serious
rationale to ignore non-working days in the Law when calculating
timelines of registration. (In other laws non-working days are not
counted. That this is not done in this Law results in a bureaucratic
extension of time which is incompatible with the principle of
c. This Law does not specify the exceptional cases which may reason
a prolongation of the consideration period. This deficiency in the
law allows the registration body to extend the consideration period
each time. From this view we consider that the Law should clearly
specify what the exceptional cases are.
5. The Ministry of Justice should prepare a handout that describes in easy
language the requirements for NGO registration.

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