DİALOGUE PLATFORM DOES NOT REFLECT THE WİLL OF THE İNDEPENDENT CİVİL SOCİETY İN OGP
On September 21, 2016, 29 independent civil society representatives who are interested in the engagement of Open Government Partnership made a joint statement. A statement says:
On September 9, 2016, at the imitative of the Council on State Support to NGOs under the Auspices of the President of Azerbaijan (hereinafter NGO Council) and participation of a group of government agencies and NGO representatives, there has been established a Government and Civil Society Dialogue Platform (hereinafter Dialogue Platform) on Open Government Partnership. As also known, on August 1, 2016, 26 representatives of the Civil Society have appealed to stakeholders interested in the establishment of Open Government Partnership. However, only three of those signed the statement were invited for initiating the Dialogue Platform. To summarize:
- Civil Society representatives expressed their interest in the process and already appealed to stakeholders were not involved in the establishment of Dialogue Platform. It is unknown under which criterion these civil society representatives were selected. Therefore, we conclude that the government wants to work only with organizations that it can benefit from;
- Newly developed Dialogue Platform does not have clear management mechanisms, it is going to regulate with general Regulations, but not with Charter.
- Election procedures, duties, and term of appointment of the coordinator are not defined.
- From the memorandum of the institution it is clear that responsibilities of the Dialogue Platform will be limited only to monitoring the National Action Plan on Promotion of open Government for 2016-2018, which means it will not be fully covering the dissemination of international Open Government Partnership principles, criteria, and initiatives;
Organizations signing this statement are assured that the Dialogue Platform does not reflect the will of the independent civil society in Open Government Partnership. The primary purpose here is to silence critical voices in regards to the Open Government Partnership initiative, to narrow the space for alternative voices, and limit the possibility of real dialogue between the government and civil society. Therefore, we strongly believe that the newly developed Dialog Platform will serve the interests of the government, it will be run under full control of the government which will not be contributing to the improvement and implementation of the National Action Plan on Promotion of Open Government.
As is known, on May 4, 2016, the Steering Committee of the Open Government Partnership has made the status of Azerbaijan in OGP as inactive. The reason for the decision was shrinking space for civil society in Azerbaijan, limited freedom of association, pressure on independent NGOs and unreasonable prosecution started since 2014. Also, the "National Action Plan for Promoting Open Government in 2016-2018" not meeting the criteria of the OGP as well as reduced public participation in the adoption of the Action Plan played a significant role in reducing the status of Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, the government of Azerbaijani did not take any lessons from this decision, in contrary, it continued actively keeping the majority of independent NGOs away from public participation as well as the Open Government Partnership.
Undersigned organizations are stating that we are persistently interested in any process related to the Open Government and the renewal of the “National Action Plan on Promotion of Open Government for 2016-2018”, ensure public control and participation in its implementation, and continue to work on promotion of principles and values of the Open Government Partnership. At the same time, for coordinating these activities and combining efforts of other independent civil society organizations, the undersigned representatives will begin negotiations for development of the relevant coalition (or network).
- Asabali Mustafayev, Democracy and Human Rights Resource Center
- Aynur Imranova, Support to Media and Development of Democracy PU
- Akif Gurbanov, Democratic Initiatives Institute
- Anar Mammadli, Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center
- Azer Mekhtiyev, Support to Economic Initiatives PU
- Azer Rasulov, Legal Initiatives Center for Civil Society
- Bakir Mammadov, Economic and Social Initiatives Institute
- Bashir Suleymanli, Institutes for Citizen Rights
- Alasgar Mammadli, Broadcast Monitoring Center
- Alovset Sadıqlı, Educational Research Center
- Avaz Zeynalli, Mewpaper “Xural”
- Ilham Huseynli, Democratic Development and Social Partnership PU
- Khalid Aghaliyev, Media Rights Institute
- Khalid Baghırov, Human rights lawyer
- Gubad Ibadoghlu, Public Initiatives Center
- Galib Bayramov, Economic Research Center
- Leyla Aliyeva, Center for National and International Studies
- Mehman Aliyev, Turan Information Agency
- Malahat Murshudlu, Independent Teachers Association
- Nasimi Mammadli, Broadcast Monitoring Center
- Ogtay Gulaliyev, Public Union for Democratic Reforms
- Rovshan Agayev, Support to Economic Initiatives PU
- Rasul Jafarov, Human Rights Club
- Rovshan Hajibeyli, Democratic Journalism School
- Samir Aliyev, Media and Public Initiatives Center
- Samir Kazımlı, Human rights defender
- Vahid Maharramov, Support to Agriculture Reforms PU
- Zohrab Ismayıl, Public Association for Assistance to Free Economy
- Ziya Guliyev, Legal Initiatives Center.