“Improving NGO Accountability?” Why did the Draft Law on Amendments to the RA Law on Non-Governmental Organizations Re-appear on the Agenda?"
12.03.2020
12:00
On March 12, at 12:00, Media Center hosted a discussion on “Improving NGO Accountability?” Why did the Draft Law on Amendments to the RA Law on Non-Governmental Organizations Re-appear on the Agenda?"

The speakers were:

Arthur Hovhannisyan, Member of the NA "My Step" Faction

David Amiryan, Deputy Director of Open Society Foundations-Armenia Programs

Arman Ghazaryan, Head of Supervision Department of the RA SRC Non-Profit Organizations

Arthur Sakunts, Head of Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Movses Aristakesyan, Chairman of the Center for Economic Right NGO

Speaking about the necessity of the law, Arthur Hovhannisyan, a member of the NA "My Step" faction, said: "I want the public's demand for NGOs to be open and transparent first and foremost to the public, not to the state, as the state can make inquiries or other legal mechanisms in case of any NGO suspicions. "

Arman Ghazaryan, Head of Supervision Department of the RA SRC Non-Profit Organizations, notes that the sole purpose of this project is to increase public accountability. Mr. Ghazaryan assures that during his working period no organization, public or foundation, has ever been subjected to any interference and has no such purpose.

David Amiryan, Deputy Director of Open Society Foundations-Armenia Programs, opposes this bill; “I want to give an example that illustrates our society's impressions of NGOs. NGOs have been mentioned by Armenian citizens as the most effective anti-corruption body in recent surveys. Our society has already given its opinion on NGOs without the tax inspectorate. If we were to study public opinion on women's rights, children's rights, education, believe me, that NGOs would be in the first place again and have reason to believe that we are creating a platform where people can see who is doing what. It has nothing to do with NGOs' awareness of our society. It is not the job of the state to demand a content report from the NGOs, all NGOs are accountable to their funding organization".

Artur Sakunts, head of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor office, believes the draft law has no legal basis. "There may be a requirement for public bodies to be accountable and transparent, for private and civil associations it may be only a statutory activity, but this law is not legal in substance. This leaves a landslide in the future for any official to prosecute an NGO".

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