Council of Europe criticises Russian law on ‘undesirable’ organisations

08.12.2014 Moscow

The Council on Non-commercial Law of the Council of Europe considers that the draft law on “undesirable organisations” is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

A draft law on “foreign and international organisations not wanted on Russian territory” was drafted recently in the Duma. Members of the Duma think that the activities of such organisations should be banned. The bill provides for organisations to be deemed “undesirable” if their activity represents a threat to “the defence capability or security of the state, public order or health of the population”. The Council of Europe considers that the reasons why an organisation might be deemed undesirable are vague, Kommersant reports. It also commented that the law’s provisions can be used arbitrarily, without a judicial opinion, which would be in breach of the right to freedom of assembly and aspects of the  European Convention on Human Rights. The Council of Europe considers that the proposed law’s capacity to prohibit participation by “undesirable organisations” in mass events is unlimited, and that it allows for freezing their bank accounts is deemed to be disproportionate. The ability to ban them from producing, distributing and holding information materials would impinge on the principle of  freedom of speech.

The Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Structure will “operate on the basis of the interests of Russia, and the Europeans can hold any opinion they wish” commented the Committee’s Deputy Chairman, United Russia member Dmitry Vyatkin.

Author: Georgy Ivanushkin

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