January 27, 2015

The new draft law on NGOs has caused public sector concerns

According to the new draft law on NGOs submitted by the government, there will be a requirement on financial reports of the non-governmental organizations, and sanctions will be used in case NGOs do not provide the government with the requested reports.

This draft is still in the stage of discussions, but many human rights activists are concerned that this amendment will be put at risk the independence of NGOs.

While the Ministry of Justice argues that instead of trying to control, the law will make the work of the organizations more transparent, David Amiryan, Deputy Director for Programs of the Open Society Foundations - Armenia,commented that failing to report in details on the fundings and purposes can cause the executive to claim the NGOs to stop the activities in Court. This may become a powerful tool in the hands of government to control and threaten the activities of NGOs.

The draft law also require the NGOs to submit an audit report if their annual financial turnover exceeds 10 million. However, the positive sides of the bill include the investment of the volunteering institution, the right of the NGOs to appeal to court itself.

* Note: A few month ago the Ambassador of Russia announced that it would be good for Armenia to have a piece of legislation to control non-governmental organizations as there is one in Russia.

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