HRC drafting definition of ‘political activity’ to assist CSOs
The Human Rights Council to prepare a checklist for CSOs to assess their risk of being classed as a foreign agent for political activity
According to HRC’s Chair, Svetlana Makovetskaya, creating such a checklist won’t be easy. First of all, civic institutions and CSOs have to agree on what constitutes political activity. Criteria need to be set out in such a way that protects their interests and against which an organisation can assess itself.
“The issue is complicated by the fact that these are difficult times for the work of not-for-profit organisations. Lawmakers sometimes refer to CSOs as unreliable, unreasonable and “easily bought”. Something has to be done about this too”, Makovetskaya told ASI.
Firstly, the checklist can only “work” if CSOs accept this tool and secondly if the authorities agree to use it. It is also important that the courts and government agencies see this as an instrument that can be applied in the decision-making process.
The HRC is drafting new wording on the definition of political activity which will be discussed with the Ministry of Economic Development prior to being submitted to the Ministry of Justice.
Translated by Neil Hailey