Human Rights Council to present draft amendments on NGO law to President Putin

posted 27 Jul 2013, 09:12 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 27 Jul 2013, 09:13 ]
25 July 2013 

Source: (info)
The Presidential Human Rights Council plans to present draft amendments on the law governing non-profit organizations to Vladimir Putin. The head of the Council’s commission on the development of the non-profit sector, Elena Topoleva-Soldunova, told Kommersant the draft amendments will be given to Putin during his meeting with the Human Rights Council which is planned for September.

Members of the Council have prepared a number of variants of amendments since the the wave of inspections of NGOs began last April. In particular, the Council calls for the term ‘foreign agent’ to be completely removed from the legislation, or that a definition near to that in the Civil Code be used, Rosbalt reports.

According to one of the variants, NGOs acting as ‘foreign agents’ would be considered to be organizations which use money from a foreign state, its organs or a foreign principal to conduct matters in the name of this state or principal, receiving payment for their work as an agent.

According to another variant, a 'foreign agent' would be an organization which, at the expense of a foreign state or foreign principal, pursues political purposes and receives payment for this.

In addition, the Human Rights Council wants to concretize the notion of ‘political activity’ as participation by NGO representatives in elections, or in financing a political party.

If the head of state does not like these variants, the Human Rights Council is ready to introduce amendments to the law ‘on public associations’ which contains a definition of a ‘public association pursuing political purposes.’ ‘You can ban organizations of that kind from receiving foreign funding,’ Topoleva-Soldunova remarked.

According to the Nils Muižnieks, human rights commissioner of the Council of Europe, the legislation regulating the activity of NGOs in Russia needs to be reviewed in order to create clear, consistent and uniform guidelines that correspond with international standards.