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.
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Oil, Gas and Mining
Money from oil, gas and mining can help lift entire countries out of poverty in much of the developing world. Properly managed, it can build schools, hospitals and roads, and reduce dependency on international aid. But all too often, the revenue goes missing because deals are done behind closed doors, allowing small, corrupt elites to profit at the expense of ordinary citizens.
Azerbaijan’s economy is almost entirely dependent on oil, a resource managed almost exclusively by the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (Socar).