The Armenian Lawyers’ Association continues the series of trainings on the new NGO Law within the framework of the “Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” Project.
The regular training took place in Ashtarak City. ALA President Karen Zadoyan presented the changes made in the new law and existing problems. Deputy Governor of Aragatsotn Marz Mushegh Abgaryan and Deputy Head of Ashtarak Community Gevorg Yeghiazaryan were present at the meeting. The training was held in the Ashtarak City Hall.
Mr. Mushegh Abgaryan, in his opening speech highlighted the cooperation between the civil society and local self-government bodies from the aspect of raising public awareness and solving public issues. He noted that the local self-governing bodies, particularly the Aragatsotn marz authorities in cooperation with the ALA have been effectively operating with non-governmental organizations and as a result, NGOs in the marz and in Ashtarak City are currently active.
Mr. Karen Zadoyan reminded that formerly the ALA had launched and operated an anti-corruption center in Ashtarak City, and added that the center had had a great impact on the community level.
Further, Mr. Zadoyan presented the “Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” project, talking about the targets and future plans.
Passing to the main topic, namely the new NGO Law, the speaker presented the current innovations one by one and touched upon the problems as well.
In particular, Karen Zadoyan touched upon the NGO audit. He said that in case of exceeding the size of 5 million AMD of the public funds, NGOs should be subject to external audit. Speaking of control, Mr. Zadoyan reminded that the state authorized body has changed: formerly it was the Ministry of Justice, now the State Revenue Committee. “It is not matter of financial control, but the control over the implementation of the provisions of the law. Maybe you are not aware, the Ministry of Justice had conducted inspections in NGOs as well. Every year the government made such a decision. The criteria were defined and largely related to organizations’ risks,” Mr. Zadoyan said.
The new law provides the right to NGOs to directly engage in entrepreneurial activity. Formerly, the organizations implemented such activities through creating limited liability companies. Despite the changes, some NGOs avoid to take an advantage of innovation, they are prone to the established practice.
Representatives of “Arajyntats” (Progress) NGO are of such opinion. “We have planned that this year we should engage in entrepreneurial activity. The new law has been a stimulus, but we want to create a separate enterprise, which will enable to avoid some crackdowns and undue interference from in the NGO’s activities,” the NGO representative said.
These courses usually are hold run in pretty crowded halls. NGOs in all marzes tell us that they get exhaustive and comprehensive information on the new law in the scope of “Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” Project. Ashtarak City is not an exception as well. NGOs have admitted that before this they have not been able to draw a clear idea about the nuances in the law. Some of them have already submitted their applications to the project organizers with request to support in amending their charters.
“From today’s presentation I realized that there are many things to change, which I had not thought about,” Ms Anzhella Hovhannisyan, President of “Tsitsernak” (“Swallow”) NGO of parents of children with disabilities said.
The “Commitment to Constructive Dialogue” Project is implemented with the financial support of the European Union by the “Armenian Lawyers’ Association” NGO in cooperation with its partners; Agora Central Europe o.p.s (an NGO from the Czech Republic), Armenian Center for Democratic Education-CIVITAS, “International Center for Human Development” Public Organization, SME Cooperation Association and Union of Communities of Armenia.