Unscheduled inspections trigger push to amend NGO law

The Law on Nongovernmental Organizations will be adjusted and its provisions dealing with unscheduled inspections will be amended, the Russian government said on its website citing its resolution of June 17.

The Law on Nongovernmental Organizations will be adjusted and its provisions dealing with unscheduled inspections will be amended, the Russian government said on its website citing its resolution of June 17.

Article 32 will be amended and it will list the following reasons for ordering unscheduled inspections on nonprofit organizations: expiration of the deadline for amending violations uncovered, suspicion that the organization engages in extremist activities and reported violations of the law.

Unscheduled inspections will be authorized if ordered by the president, or the government, or a prosecutor for overseeing compliance with the law.

Russia's human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin earlier told Interfaxthat the proposed amendments aim to change the financing mechanism so nongovernmental organizations will get funding from inside Russia, not from abroad.

"If NGOs start receiving money inside Russia, if the term 'political activities' is narrowed, the problem will be solved. It is the least they can do if the authorities want their moves in these spheres to not be perceived as prohibitive. On the contrary, the authorities should encourage nongovernmental organizations, including those critical of some aspects of their work. This is natural in a democratic country," Lukin said.

He said Putin had spoken twice lately about prospects of amending the NGO law: during talks with the Council of Europe's secretary general and at the civil summit of the G20.

A law obliging nongovernmental organizations with foreign funding to register as foreign agents was enforced in Russia on November 21, 2012. In March 2013, the Prosecutor General\'s Office, the Justice Ministry and the Federal Tax Service launched inspections on rights organizations. The Law on NGOs is being boycotted by Russian rights organizations.

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