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Russia: Sakharov laureat NGO Memorial estranged

 

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“Today, a Moscow court has confirmed the decision by the Russian Ministry of Justice to include the Memorial International Society on the list of “foreign agents”. This listing, made on 4 October 2016, brings the number of Memorial-affiliated NGOs included in the registry to eight and the number of Russian NGOs currently registered to 149″ -says the statement of the European External Action Service spokesperson.

“The European Union has repeatedly stated that the law on “foreign agents” and the ensuing fines, inspections and stigmatisation, further tighten the restrictions on the exercise of fundamental freedoms in Russia, consume the scarce resources of NGOs and inhibit independent civil society in the country”.

“We continue to call on the Russian authorities to align their policies and legislation with the human rights obligations and commitments that they have undertaken, and to abandon the practice of branding Russian NGOs as “foreign agents”, as well as all resulting administrative harassment”.

“Despite existing difficulties, the European Union is committed to continuing its support for Russian NGOs and civil society. The work of the different Memorial branches, which together form the biggest and oldest network of NGOs, has been and continues to be of the utmost importance for the promotion of human rights in Russia and the preservation of its historical memory”. (Source: European External Action Service)

 

The Memorial was awarded Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2009 by the European Parliament for its distinguished record of a ‘prominent and embattled’ Russian human rights group. EP president Jerzy Buzek attributed the award to  Oleg Orlov, Sergei Kovalyov, and Lyudmila Alekseyeva, representing the NGO, adding that it also a gesture of recognition of the efforts of the  human rights defenders in Russia.

 

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