Commission of Presidential Human Rights Council recommends withdrawing bill on listing non-profits as ‘foreign agents’

posted 13 May 2014, 22:10 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 May 2014, 22:20 ]
12 May 2014

Source: (info
The Permanent Commission for the Development of Non-Profit Organizations of the Presidential Human Rights Council has published its preliminary opinion on the Federal bill ‘Introducing Changes to Article 32 of the Federal Law “Non-Commercial organizations”’, submitted  to the State Duma by Deputy Andrei Lugovoi.

It is pointed out in the statement that of the 42 amendments made to the Federal law ‘Non-Profit Organisations’ since 1996, 16 were introduced in just the last three years, not to mention amendments to civil law which have altered the rights of legal entities. The authors of the statement wrote that amendments made to non-profit legislation in the last three years were not open to public debate, and were rushed off quickly without due consideration of the interests of those affected by these laws. These numerous, haphazard and illogical amendments form a barrier to providing citizens with a constitutional freedom of association. Moreover, this creates difficulties not only for non-profit organisations, but also for legal professionals who are forced to work with these ‘raw’, unrefined legislative acts. This was certainly the case with the bill proposed by Andrei Lugovoi, which proposed giving the Ministry of Justice a free hand to add NGOs to the ‘foreign agents’ register.

The Human Rights Council said that the conclusion of their preliminary analysis of the bill ‘Introducing Changes to Article 32 of the Federal Law “Non-Profit Organizations”’ is that the proposed changes contradict Article 13, part 4 (equality of public associations), Article 30 (freedom of activity of public associations) and Article 55, part 3 (that the rights and freedoms of citizens should not be limited without good reason) of the Russian Constitution.

Based on the arguments laid out in the document, it is requested that the bill be withdrawn from consideration by the State Duma. The preliminary opinion of the Permanent Commission for the Development of Non-Profit Organizations was sent to the Chairman of the State Duma, and has been published on the website of the Presidential Human Rights Council of the Russian Federation.

Translated by Catriona Gillham