High Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia Ella Pamfilova believes there is a lack of human rights NGOs in Russia.
According to Ms Pamfilova, the number of human rights organisations in Russia is insufficient. "There are very few of them in Russia. And the farther from Moscow, the fewer," she said. "Their number is extremely small, they should be protected, taken care of, and developed," the High Commissioner said at the conference on NGO development in Moscow.
According to her, it is absolutely impossible to efficiently protect human rights only at the state level. "I say it in a responsible manner as a person representing the State mechanism of human rights protection, without having human rights organisations as a support," the High Commissioner underlined.
In this regard, Ms Pamfilova expressed her concern about the inclusion of NGOs into the "foreign agents" registry. "I and many other people are really concerned about it," she said, having noted the "arbitrary and very often selective inclusion of NGOs into the registry". "Among almost one hundred of the organisations which are currently in the registry there are those that in fact laid down the foundations and development of the human rights protection in Russia," reminded Ms Pamfilova.
The High Commissioner called on to determine the definition of the political activity in the law on NGOs functioning as "foreign agents".
Ms Pamfilova also urged the authorities not to mix up the political and the human rights protection activities. "As the High Commissioner for Human Rights I am not entitled to engage into politics, but I am obliged to protect political rights of citizens," she explained.