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President signed law on exclusion of NGOs from foreign agents' registry

08 March 2015

On 8 March, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin signed the law regulating the procedure of exclusion of non-commercial organisations (NGOs) from the foreign agents’ registry. Earlier, Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia Ella Pamfilova had repeatedly brought up the need of developing the procedure to strike an NGO off from the registry of foreign agents.

Pursuant to the new law, an NGO can apply to a competent body for exclusion from the foreign agents’ registry, after which an off-schedule inspection of the organisation is to be held and a relevant resolution passed.

Positive decision can be made for those organisations which within a year before the submission date have not been receiving any funds from abroad, as well as have not been participating in a political activity in Russia. As well as for those organisations which have been excluded from the registry before, and within three years before the submission date have not been receiving any funds from abroad, as well as have not been participating in a political activity in Russia (refers to the organisations applying after the law as of 8 March 2015 — editor’s note).

The NGOs which within three months from the inclusion date refused to receive foreign funding and returned the means to the source abroad can be also excluded from the registry. In addition, the decision to strike the organisation off from the list of foreign agents can be made in case the organisation is terminated as a legal entity.

An NGO can be denied exclusion from the registry if "the inspection results show the non-commercial organisation has submitted fraudulent information". It is provided for that the NGO can appeal against such decision.

The same procedure and reasons for exclusion from the registry are also established for a public association acting as a legal entity.

For reference: on 17 November, at the meeting with the President, Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia Ella Pamfilova introduced her suggestions concerning amendments to the law, which would have regulated the procedure of exclusion of non-commercial organisations from the registry of foreign agents. The President supported the Commissioner’s suggestions and ordered the Ministry of Justice to have them elaborated.

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