In a letter addressed to the President of the National Assembly of Republika Srpska, Nenad Stevandić, published today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, raises concerns about the Draft Law on Special Registry and Transparency of the Work of Non-Profit Organisations, which is included in the agenda of the National Assembly’s session scheduled for 26 September 2023.
The Commissioner stresses that the Draft Law which establishes a separate legal regime for NGOs that receive any form of foreign funding or other assistance of foreign origin raises several human rights concerns, as also noted in the joint opinion of the Venice Commission and the OSCE/ODIHR on the Draft Law from June 2023. The Commissioner emphasises that “the legitimate aim of increasing the transparency of the work of NGOs should not be sought through disproportionate or discriminatory means, to the detriment of the effective enjoyment of human rights and freedoms”.
She underscores “the background of an increasingly restrictive environment for civil society and dissenting voices in Republika Srpska” and calls on parliamentarians to refrain from adopting the Draft Law and to foster a safe and enabling environment for NGOs and human rights defenders, in line with relevant Council of Europe standards.
- Read the Commissioner’s letter to the President of the National Assembly of Republika Srpska (also available in Serbian)
- Read the reply of the President of the National Assembly of Republika Srpska (in Serbian with English and French translations)