Federation Council intends to amend NGO law

posted 17 Jul 2013, 14:02 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 17 Jul 2013, 14:05 ]
11 July 2013 

Source: HRO.org (info)
At a session of the Federation Council on 10th July, senators voted for draft amendments to the current NGO law.

According to the Rosbalt news agency, the amendments were proposed by the General Prosecutor’s Office on the basis of the results of the NGO inspections which have been carried out.

In particular, prosecutor general Yury Chaika, who spoke at the Federation Council session, proposed that NGOs receiving money from abroad be obliged to identify the source of the funding and the amount received. Moreover, he proposed that these organisations undergo inspections once a year. According to the prosecutor general, the NGO inspections were complicated by a lack of precision in the definition of what constitutes “political activity”, which the new amendments will make more specific.

Yury Chaika also suggested that state and municipal officials be forbidden from taking part in NGO activities. He said that the proposed amendments in question will be passed onto the Russian president.

Valentina Matvienko, chair of the Federation Council, called upon all senators to submit proposals to amend the law by 15th September so that the chamber could adopt a full resolution on this issue at the first autumn session. Matvienko said that NGO activity, as well as the question of their funding, must be under public control.

“Nobody is banning NGOs from carrying out their activities, but they must be open to society and nothing should be hidden – that is the main motive for this law,” stated Matvienko. “We will improve the law to make it more transparent and comprehensible.”

The mass inspections of NGOs that took place in the spring of this year attracted a great deal of public attention. Human rights activists both in Russia and abroad talked about the huge number of infringements with which they were accompanied. On 10 July, President Vladimir Putin ordered General Prosecutor Yury Chaika to analyse the results of the application of the NGO law to ensure no NGOs should be classified as ‘foreign agents’ in error.