Russia wants NGOs that get foreign funding to be declared foreign agents.
Russia should rethink controversial new rules targeting foreign-funded non-governmental organisations (NGOs), said member states during a meeting on Monday of the UN Human Rights Council.
“Concerted campaigns that limit the ability of NGOs and civil society to fulfil their important role are unacceptable,” Germany’s Geneva ambassador, Hanns Schumacher, said in a statement echoed by several Western countries.
Many Western countries said they were concerned about a law that forces NGOs to register as “foreign agents’’ if they fund political activity with foreign money.
“We recommend the removal of the legislation that restricts civil society from receiving international funding, and to cease unannounced inspections aimed at intimidating civil society organisations,’’ U.S. envoy, Eileen Donahue, said.
Law enforcement officers have searched hundreds of Russian organisations for signs of non-compliance in recent weeks.
“Being deemed a foreign agent cannot be considered to be curbing the activities of the organisations,’’ Russian Justice Minister, Alexander Konovalov, told the human rights body.
Last week, justice authorities fined prominent Russian election watchdog. Golos, almost 10,000 dollars for not registering.
Prosecutors also issued a warning to the Russian office of anti-corruption group, Transparency International.
The UN Human Rights Council discussed Russia’s human rights record as part of its regular review of human rights concerns in UN member countries.
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