Azerbaijan: Publish What You Pay calls for the immediate release of transparency activist Mr. Ogtay Gulaliyev

Source: PWYP International
Date: 18 May 2022

Publish What You Pay (PWYP) is gravely concerned by the arrest and continued detention of Mr. Ogtay Gulaliyev, Coordinator of the “Kura” Civil Society Headquarter* in central Azerbaijan, and member of the PWYP-affiliated Coalition for Improving Transparency in Extractive Industries.

According to a statement from the Coalition for Improving Transparency in Extractive Industries, Mr. Gulaliyev was arrested 8 April 2022 by local policemen while participating in a public meeting with local residents of Minbashy, a village in Azerbaijan’s Sabirabad region, where local residents had been staging protests over the distribution of state financial aid.

Gulaliyev, a well-known human rights and transparency advocate, campaigns for increased transparency and accountability in the management of Azerbaijan’s oil and mineral wealth.

With international attention set to turn to Azerbaijan this weekend as the country hosts the Eurovision song contest, Azerbaijan’s attempt to stifle peaceful protest are very worrying.

In 2009, Azerbaijan was deemed ‘Compliant’ under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global initiative for increased transparency in the oil, gas and mining sectors. The participation of independent civil society is a fundamental component of the multi-stakeholder nature of the EITI and civil society organisations from Azerbaijan are playing an active role to ensure the process is credible.

PWYP calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Gulaliyev and asks for all charges against him to be dropped. PWYP calls on Azerbaijan to refrain from any attempts to harass or intimidate civil society activists and to allow open debate and freedom of expression in the country.

Notes:

  • The Kura Civil Society Headquarter is a local civil society pressure group, which was set up in May 2010 following the flooding of the Kura River, which destroyed 30,000 houses as well as 110,000 hectares of farmland.