Prosecutors say more than 50 kinds of NGO activity are 'political'

posted 19 May 2013, 10:44 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 19 May 2013, 19:07 ]
17 May 2013 

Source: (info)
On the basis of more than 30 warnings issued by prosecutors to NGOs under the law on ‘foreign agents’, the human rights organization Agora has counted more than 50 kinds of activity that have been classified as ‘political.’ 

Pavel Chikov, director of Agora, told Vedomosti that ‘all socially useful activities’ have been classified as political activity, including legal consultations for those who took part in protests in December 2011 and the publication of a leaflet such as ‘The International LGBT Movement: From Local Specifics to Global Policy.’

In general, Pavel Chikov concludes, coming forward with any initiative can be considered political activity, from making recommendations to the authorities to the holding of demonstrations.

Chikov says that the label ‘foreign agent’ can be applied to any active NGO. For this reason, Chikov supports the proposal by the Presidential Council on Human Rights that the criterion ‘political activity’ be excluded from the definition of a ‘foreign agent’, and that the sole criterion be the presence or absence of foreign funding.

Rosbalt news agency reports that recently the Presidential Human Rights Council held a special session on the NGO inspections being conducted in Russia. The results of the session have been published by the Council. This points out that starting in March 2013 in many regions of Russia the prosecutors have been conducting mass inspections of non-profit organizations. The Human Rights Council states that the inspections have already affected several thousand NGOs, including groups that have won wide recognition for their work in the areas of human rights, the environment, research, education, sport, religion and other areas.

In particular, the report states that these inspections have been carried out in violation of the established law regulating oversight by federal bodies of the work of NGOs.