NGO law needs to be reviewed - PACE co-rapporteur for Russia
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MOSCOW, July 4 (RAPSI) - PACE co-rapporteur Dora Bakoyannis called for a thorough analysis of Russias "foreign agents" law at a Thursday meeting with members of Russia's upper house in Moscow.
PACE co-rapporteurs for Russia Theodora Bakoyannis and Andreas Gross made a three-day fact-finding visit to Yaroslavl and Moscow on July 2-4, 2013.
The highly controversial law on NGOs, which took effect in November 2012, requires politically active NGOs with foreign funding to register as "foreign agents." Once registered, these NGOs face heightened scrutiny.
Bakoyannis said the law should be amended. The international community may fall under the impression that Russia is persecuting NGOs, which is unfair, she said. The rapporteur said she does not think that Moscow wants to create such an impression and urged the Russian authorities to review the law.
She appealed to the Federation Council members to amend it.
Bakoyannis said that NGOs, including international and foreign-funded ones, are worried that they are being pressured. However, she failed to provide any concrete examples of this.
An extensive report on Russia's compliance with its obligations and commitments to the Council of Europe was presented in the PACE last October.
Russia has been monitored for its compliance with its obligations and commitments since it joined the Council of Europe in 1996. In accordance with PACE procedure, monitoring reports consisting of several parts are made every two years.