HRC criticises bill tightening paperwork for NGOs
HRC criticises draft law tightening paperwork for NGOs
Moscow 11 November 2015
The Presidential Council for Human Rights considers that the draft law does not resolve the current problems regarding the legal status of NGOs carrying out the functions of a “foreign agent”.
The Presidential Council on the development of civil society and human rights provided an expert opinion on the draft law, clarifying the scope and content of information contained in the paperwork of NGOs, including that of organisations designated as “foreign agents”. The law was worked on by the Ministry of Justice. Earlier, the Government Legislative Commission looked over the document and admitted that the draft needs improvement.
The Presidential Council for Human Rights does not support the law in its current form. The expert opinion of the members of the Council highlighted, in particular, that the additional obligation for “foreign agents” to present a report “on the programmes and other documents that constitute the basis for carrying out activities financed and/or held with the participation of foreign sources”, leads to the infringement of the rights and legal interests of NGOs and their counterparties.
The Presidential Council for Human Rights considers that the draft law does not address the current problems regarding the legal status of NGOs carrying out the function of a “foreign agent”. The document, in particular, does not contain a clear, complete and unambiguous definition of “political activities”. Earlier, experts stated that the Ministry of Justice’s draft law was outdated and includes discriminatory norms.
The HRC also presented their findings on two other draft laws. They recommended the rejection of the law which obliges the media to render an account of foreign funding. Human rights activists consider that the draft law, which limits the provision of information to citizens about individual types of property and about personal data of the owners of this property, does not correspond to the anti-corruption legislation of the Russian Federation.
Author: Grigory Ivanushkin