(London) – The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a prominent international coalition, should suspend Azerbaijan’s membership for failing to carry out key reforms, a coalition of 21 groups including Human Rights Watch, ARTICLE 19, and International Media Support said today. The EITI, during its board meeting in Bogota, Colombia, on March 8 and 9, 2017, will review Azerbaijan’s efforts to ease its repression of civil society groups as the EITI had required.
“The Azerbaijani government is snubbing the EITI by ignoring its requirements for reforms and by systematically dismantling the country’s independent civil society,” said Giorgi Gogia, South Caucasus director at Human Rights Watch. “Following numerous reviews and warnings, the EITI should suspend Azerbaijan’s further participation until the government makes serious, lasting changes to allow nongovernmental groups to operate freely in Azerbaijan.”
The EITI brings together governments, companies, and nongovernmental groups to encourage better governance of resource-rich countries by fostering open public debate about the use of oil, gas, and mining revenues. The EITI requires member governments to foster “an enabling environment for civil society” and to “refrain from actions which result in narrowing or restricting public debate in relation to implementation of the EITI.”