NGO law tailored to browbeat human rights activists - U.S. State Department
WASHINGTON D.C, July 25 - RAPSI. The United States believes that the new Russian law on non-profit organizations is intended to intimidate and persecute human rights and civil society activists.
The new law, which brands non-profit entities financed from abroad and engaged in politics as "foreign agents", was signed by the president on July 20 and will come into effect in November this year.
Those who proposed the new law have said that the term "foreign agent" was borrowed from U.S. legislation. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated on July 5 that "we have borrowed not only the term from U.S. legislation, which is believed to be most advanced in the world, but also the concept of which type of NGOs should be classed as foreign agents and what their rights and obligations ought to be."
"We have seen the law and frankly we raised our concerns about this, including at the level of the Secretary, when the law was in draft," said U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland at the Tuesday briefing.
She believes that the law applies burdensome requirements on human rights advocates, anticorruption and democracy groups.
"Our concern is that this law is designed to intimidate those civil society activists and organizations that Russia needs most to promote the development of a modern, democratic society that's free from corruption, that's based on rule of law, and in which human rights are respected," said Nuland.