Public consultation of MOJ’s bill on inspections of NGOs
The law concerning the expansion of the list of grounds or justiifcations for inspections of non-profit organisations which was adopted in June 2014 is now to be expanded to include mention of specific additional grounds. The Ministry of Justice is in the process of developing an order that extends the list of grounds for unscheduled inspections of the work of non-profit organisations.
This has been confirmed in a statement on the Ministry’s website. The aforementioned bill has been published on the federal internet portal for all federal draft laws and legislatory regulations and is now passing through the public consultation stage which all legislation has to go through, this stage due to be completed on 4th April.
The Ministry of Justice has stated that the draft bill has been prepared in connection with changes in the current legislation that significantly affected the competency areas of the Ministry. In June 2014 the President signed the law affirming that the Ministry of Justice is endowed with the right to register NGOs as “foreign agents” by force and expand the list of grounds for unscheduled inspections of their work.
According to the draft bill, justifications for unscheduled inspections can include requests to the Ministry of Justice or its territorial state and local agencies from government entities, from local public entities as well as citizens or other organisations which claim or provide information suggesting that some NGO is operating as a “foreign agent” though it has not yet submitted an application for inclusion in the register.
“In the case of the discovery of non-profit organisations operating as foreign agents which have not applied for inclusion in the aforementioned registry, the Russian Ministry of Justice then has the right to take action to include the organisation in question in the aforementioned register. In addition, the draft bill provides for the introduction of an exclusion mechanism for non-profit organisations to be removed from the register on the basis of a valid statement from the organisation in question,” the Ministry has stated.
As of today, there are 124 entites registered in the register as “foreign agents”, with 23 organisations having been removed in the past from the list either in connection with the “loss of their function as a foreign agent” or due to their liquidation or insolvency.
AUTHOR: Georgiy Ivanushkin