Expert Council on NGO Law: Country study on NGO legislation in the Russian Federation

The Conference of INGOs became aware that the legislation governing NGOs in the Russian Federation had been subject to amendments by the so-called “foreign agents’ law” that seemed to pose problems of conformity with international standards, notably the European Convention on Human Rights and the Council of Europe’s Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14 on the legal status of NGOs in Europe. Moreover, the implementation of the law also seemed to be in contradiction with a number of these standards.

Responding to the foregoing concerns, the Standing Committee of the INGO Conference asked the Expert Council in April 2013 to review all these matters and prepare an Opinion on the “Law introducing Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation Regarding the Regulation of Activities of Non-commercial Organisations Performing the Function of Foreign Agents”, with the intention of informing the Conference of INGOs and affording an opportunity for the Russian authorities to respond to the conclusions of the Opinion and take any appropriate action.

The Expert Council of NGO Law met in Moscow on 30 and 31 October and presented the main findings of its opinion at a round table co-organised by the INGO Conference and the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, with the participation of the office of the Human Rights Commissioner. The round table "Developments in Legislation on Non-commercial Organisations: International Experience" brought together stake holders concerned with NGO legislation and its implementation to discuss questions such as political activities of NGOs in an international perspective.

At its meeting on 27-28 November 2014, the Expert Council on NGO Law learnt about draft amendments to NGO legislation which were presented on 27 November and would have an effect on NGOs. It prepared the following opinion:

The Expert Council prepared an opinion on the Law on "Undesirable" Organisations in November 2015: