Don’t Let Russia Suppress Human Rights Activists

kremlin 2

Target: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

Goal: Reject proposal that will hinder non-governmental organizations in Russia.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are under fire in Russia, where a recent proposed change in legislation will impose serious restrictions on these valuable civil society groups. Under the proposal, all foreign-funded organizations must identify themselves as agents of foreign interest and undergo costly annual audits and reports or be subject to criminal charges. This proposal, which serves to discredit civil rights groups that campaign for positive change in Russia, must be stopped.

Many NGOs fight for human rights in notoriously corrupt Russia. Under the proposed legislative amendment, these independent civil activists will be labeled as “foreign agents,” a term that is taken to mean “foreign spy” in Russia. This label will demonize the groups in the public eye. In addition, the changes will require that all NGOs file various reports throughout the year and submit to annual audits, all of which will impose a substantial financial burden. Failure to comply with these strict and intrusive regulations could land organization leaders in jail for up to two years.

If this draft law passes, independent civil activists will be discredited and mired in legislative and fiscal burdens. Dmitry Medvedev championed human rights efforts during his presidency. Now we must insist that he continue this fight by directing his United Russia party to dismiss this proposed amendment. By signing the petition below, you can ask Prime Minister Medvedev to reject the drafted legislation restricting NGO activity in Russia.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister Medvedev,

The recent draft law that extends government control over non-governmental organizations is a severe step backward for human rights in the Russian Federation. The law will not only increase financial burden with its costly audit and reporting requirements, but will demonize foreign-funded groups by labeling them as agents of foreign interest. These organizations are comprised of independent activists who campaign for the rights and wellbeing of Russian citizens. To call such a group a “foreign agent” is a slanderous misnomer, as they are in fact working for the interest of your people.

During your presidency, you stated that the values of the Russian Federation are the same as those of Western countries regarding freedom and human rights. Please recognize that this applies to foreign-funded organizations, who also work for these same basic values. If the current legislative draft is passed, your country will obstruct these heralds of positive change to the detriment of your own people. Please advise your United Russia party to deny this damaging legislation.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: ushakov via stock.xchng.

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60 Signatures

  • Hermann Kastner
  • Eric von Borstel
  • Mal Gaff
  • Terrie Phenicie
  • Holly Hall
  • Jutta Taraniuk
  • Melanie waleski
  • Ricki Newman
  • sundriya grubb
  • Kara Graul
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