EU must press Russia to end civil society crackdown
(Brussels, 19 December 2012) As the European Union prepares to host its latest bilateral summit with Russia on Friday, Amnesty International has called on European Council President Herman Van Rompuy to raise key human rights concerns with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
“Russia is responding with increasing belligerence to criticism of its worsening internal human rights record. Its recent restrictive laws on civil society fly in the face of growing popular demand for civil and political freedoms”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “Russia has also been a major obstacle to international coordination in response to human rights violations, especially in Syria.”
The Russian authorities have swiftly passed restrictive laws on civil society, without public consultation, which Amnesty international believes contain provisions which are inconsistent with Russia’s international commitments on human rights and governance and with constitutional guarantees of citizens’ rights. For example, the new requirements for NGOs which receive foreign funding to register as ‘foreign agents’ not only imposes an additional administrative burden on them, but may create negative perceptions of their activities due to the pejorative connotation ‘foreign agent’ has in Russian. This appears to be part of a larger crackdown on civil society in the country. Amnesty International has joined seven other international NGOs in calling on the EU to put further pressure on Russia to repeal these laws.
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