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The Board of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum strongly condemns the addition of the Czech NGO “People in Need” to the list of “undesirable organisations” in Russia.[1] It is impermissible that a well-respected civil society organisation from a European Union member state is deemed “undesirable” in Russia.

We call on the European Commission, members of the European Parliament and representatives of European Union member states to publicly express their dismay over the decision and communicate their position to their Russian counterparts. The issue should be raised as long as necessary during meetings between Brussels and Moscow with the goal of de-lisiting “People in Need” and ultimately of stopping this repressive practice.

We also call on the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Dunja Mijatović, to voice her discontent in meetings with Russian colleagues, and to contribute to a widespread dissemination of the issue.

The Board of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum regards this decision as part of a new wave of repression against independent civil society in Russia, as the addition to the list is primarily aimed at putting an end to its cooperation with partners and like-minded associations in other countries. We call on Russian authorities to repeal not only this decision but also to reconsider the entire legislation, which contravenes fundamental principles of international law and violates international obligations of the Russian Federation.

Background Information

People in Need (PIN) is an independent, non-profit NGO based in Prague, which was established in 1992. PIN has grown to be one of the largest organisations of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe and has worked in over 30 countries around the world. PIN conducts activities in three areas: human rights support; humanitarian aid and development; social and educational programmes. For more than a decade, PIN has been organising the One World Festival, the largest human rights film festival in Europe. [2]

On 12 November 2019, the Russian Ministry of Justice added “People in Need” to the list of “Undesirable Foreign and International Non-Governmental Organisations on the Territory of the Russian Federation”. [3] Without further elaboration, the Ministry announced on its webpage that the decision was taken in accordance with the Federal Law No. 272-FZ of 28 December 2012 “On Sanctions for Individuals Violating Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms of Citizens of the Russian Federation”, based on a decision by the Deputy Prosecutor General on 7 November 2019. [4]

26 November 2019

 

Contacts:

Harry Hummel, Board Co-Chair, EU-Russia Civil Society Forum/ Netherlands Helsinki Committee (The Hague, Netherlands); hhummel@nhc.nl              

Elena Shakhova, Board Member of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum/ Citizens’ Watch (St. Petersburg, Russia), evshakhova@gmail.com

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1. For the background information on the term and the legislation history, please see statements by the Board/ Steering Committee of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum of 5 June 2015 and of 19 March 2018.
2. For more information on the NGO, please visit its website at www.clovekvtisni.cz/en
3. See www.radio.cz/en/section/curraffrs/russia-places-czech-ngo-people-in-need-among-list-of-undesirables
4. See https://minjust.ru/ru/novosti/o-perechne-inostrannyh-i-mezhdunarodnyh-nepravitelstvennyh-organizaciy-deyatelnost-kotoryh-3 (in Russian)