There are too few human rights NGOs in Russia — human rights envoy

Russia’s Human Rights Commissioner Ella Pamfilova urged officials not to confuse political activities with human rights work.

Russia’s Human Rights Commissioner Ella Pamfilova has said Russia is short of human rights NGOs.

According to Pamfilova, there are not enough human rights organizations in Russia. "There are too few of them in Russia, and, the farther from Moscow the fewer their number is," Pamfilova noted. "There are negligibly few of them, they should be protected, preserved and developed," Pamfilova told a news conference in Moscow on Wednesday dedicated to the development of NGOs.

According to her, it is impossible to effectively protect human rights at the state level only. "I say that with full responsibility as a person representing the state protection of human rights," the ombudsperson noted.

Pamfilova voiced concern over the fact that some NGOs had been put on the "foreign agent" register. "This worries both myself and many other people," she said, pointing to the "arbitrary, very often selective inclusion [of NGOs] in this register." "There are less than 100 organizations [in the register of foreign agent NGOs]. In reality, there are organizations among them that actually laid the foundation of the development of human rights activities in Russia," Pamfilova said.

She added it was necessary to make a decision at an early date on the political activities in the law on "foreign agent" NGOs. "Since we cannot cancel the law on ‘foreign agents', at least it will be more selective," she said.

Pamfilova urged officials not to confuse political activities with human rights work. "As a [human rights] commissioner, I have no right to engage in political activities, but I am responsible for protecting the political rights of citizens," she added.

First published by TASS.

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