Memorial Anti-discrimination Centre speaks in Strasbourg about pressure on NGOs

posted 19 Jun 2016, 09:02 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 19 Jun 2016, 09:02 ]
8 June 2016 

Source: (info
Memorial Anti-discrimination Centre represented the International Human Rights Federation at a Council of Europe conference for NGOs: “Only politics? Civil society, money and political activities.” 

The discussion was dedicated to discussing the limitations and also the repressions, which NGOs, human rights advocates, lawyers, journalists and civil activists are subject to in the Council of Europe’s member states. 

Participants in the conference greeted Azeri lawyer and human rights advocate Intigam Aliyev, recently released from prison. In his opening speech he thanked all the representatives of international organisations and human rights advocates who had fought for his release. 

Olga Abramenko, an expert of the Memorial Anti-discrimination Centre, highlighted in her address that the repression of NGOs in Russia had entered a new phase: in addition to NGOs being fined for alleged “violations”, which has already become routine, the leaders of NGOs are now at risk of being prosecuted. 

Aside from this, repressive legislation and practices have spread over a vast territory: from annexed Crimea, where a public authority consisting of Crimean Tartars was banned, to Kyrgyzstan, where attempts are being made to adopt a law similar to the Russian law, and where human rights advocates are subject to harassment initiated by government officials. In territories under the control of Russia, but not recognized as such, there are practically no opportunities to carry out independent human rights activities – in Transdniestria, a criminal case was opened against members of the NGO PromoLex; in the so-called Luhansk People’s Republic and Donetsk People’s Republic public space has been completely “cleaned out”, according to human rights advocates.

The circle of repression continues to draw in more and more new groups, including civil society activists, journalists and lawyers. 

Translated by Kate Goodby