Venice Commission says Russian law on undesirable activities of foreign NGOs should be modified, and adopts final opinion on the Constitutional Court Law

Venice 10/06/2016
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© Council of Europe

© Council of Europe

The Russian Federal Law on undesirable activities of foreign and international non-governmental organisations interferes with freedoms of association, assembly and expression, as well as with the right to effective remedy and other rights, and should be amended, said the Council of Europe body of constitutional experts, the Venice Commission, in its opinion adopted today. The final opinion about the Russian law on the Constitutional Court empowering it to declare decisions of international courts “unenforceable” was also adopted.

In the opinion on the NGOs law, the Venice Commission, while fully recognising the rights of states to monitor the activities of non-governmental organisations on their territory, stressed that any restrictions or sanctions introduced against associations should respect international human rights standards and meet the conditions of legality, legitimacy and necessity.

The Venice Commission criticised the vague definition of certain key concepts and of the grounds on the basis of which the activities of a foreign or international NGO may be considered undesirable, the wide discretion granted to the Public Prosecutor and the lack of specific judicial guarantees, as well as the blanket prohibitions imposed upon the NGOs (prohibition to conduct events and distribute information) that might contradict the principle of proportionality.

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