Azerbaijan was sanctioned yesterday by the International board of the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative meeting in Brazzaville, Congo, for crackdowns on civil society.
Having been the first state to join the 48 country transparency initiative, Azerbaijan has now been demoted back to candidate status and is no longer deemed compliant with its standards.
Brendan O’Donnell, alternate member of the EITI Board said, “Accountibilty to citizens is the professed essence of the EITI and while citizen groups involved are gagged or controlled by the state in a member country the initiative has no credibilty.”
The EITI is the first international body to reprimand Azerbaijan.
“This is long overdue”, said O’Donnell. “This has long been a crisis for the EITI Board and things have only worsened, with continued intimidation, funding streams outlawed and the state taking over coordination of the coalition of citizens groups. These issues must be reversed to prevent Azerbaijan being thrown out of the initiative.”
O’Donnell is alternative civil society representative to the EITI International Board and leads Global Witness’ oil campaign. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is a global partnership to promote open and accountable management of natural resources. Views expressed do not represent the views of the EITI Board as a whole.