Proposal to give officials the right to suspend the work of NGO “foreign agents”

posted 15 May 2014, 13:26 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 15 May 2014, 13:29 ]
13 May 2015

Source: (info)
The Ministry of Justice has proposed that officials of supervisory bodies be given the right to extrajudicially suspend the activities of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which are financed from abroad and which refuse to register as a “foreign agent”, according to media reports.

As notes, on Tuesday a document to this effect was placed on the internet portal dedicated to information on the development of draft regulations and the results of their public discussion. In particular, the Ministry of Justice propose to add a regulation on the supervision of NGOs that would give officials the right by their own decision to suspend the activities of such organisations for a period of no more than six months.

It is worth noting that since November 2012 when the federal law on the necessity to register organisations receiving grants from the West came into effect, only one non-governmental organisation registered as a foreign agent – NGO ‘Promoting Competition in the Commonwealth of Independent States’.

As Radio Svoboda states, the Ministry of Justice’s initiative is not supported by the Russian Presidential Council on Human Rights.

“In a state based on the rule of law, a judicial procedure in the resolution of any disputes is always preferable” the head of the Human Rights Council, Mikhail Fedotov told Interfax.

The head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Ludmila Alekseeva called the Ministry of Justice’s idea a further attack on civil society. “It is an attempt to make a law work which, in view of its absurdity, doesn’t work” Ludmila Alekseeva said.

The Russian law on NGOs requires organisations which receive grants from the west and which engage in political activity, to register as “foreign agents”. This law has been boycotted by the leading Russian human rights organisations.

Translated by Elisabeth Wright