Human Rights Council proposes suspending “foreign agent” law

posted 14 Dec 2014, 11:22 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 14 Dec 2014, 11:27 ]
5 December 2014

Source: (info
The head of a commission of the presidential Human Rights Council, Elena Topoleva-Soldunova, has proposed that the law regarding "foreign agents" be suspended, Novaya gazeta has reported citing the TASS news agency.

Prior to this, the minister of justice, Aleksandr Konovalov, had stated that it was not possible to devise a definition of what constitutes an NGO's "political activity".

"This term has obviously given rise to legal uncertainty, so the law about ‘foreign agent’ NGOs should be either annulled or suspended", commented Elena Topoleva, head of a commission of the Presidential Human Rights Council, according to TASS news agency.

In the summer of 2012, a law was passed assigning "foreign agent" status to Russian NGOs which engage in "political activity" and receive donations from abroad in order to carry out their work.

To comply with the law, NGOs with "foreign agent" status must put their name on the Ministry of Justice's register of NGOs which "carry out the functions of a foreign agent". They must also put the label ‘foreign agent’ on all their publications and websites, and submit very frequent reports to the Ministry of Justice, and so on and so forth.

Experts, human rights activists and lawyers stress that both the law and the way it is being enforced in practice are clearly discriminatory, besides being evidently motivated by xenophobia.

Translated by Suzanne Eade Roberts