EHRAC 10th Anniversary Panel: ‘Foreign agents' and 'political activity' - opposing the crackdown on Russian NGOs

Language: In English/Russian with translation

Panel discussion with Luke Harding, Oleg Orlov and Anna Sevortian. Discussion chaired by Professor Philip Leach.

In late 2012, a new law, requiring NGOs engaged in ‘political activity’ and receiving funding from abroad to register as ‘Foreign Agents’, marked a significant deterioration in the human rights situation in Russia. Recognising the potentially devastating impact on civil society, the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre and the Russian NGO Memorial have appealed to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of eleven Russian NGOs, arguing that the law itself, and its application, violates the right to freedom of association.

Since the introduction of the law, NGOs across the country are increasingly being charged with ‘administrative offences’ for refusing to enter the roster of Foreign Agents. Many NGOs have also been subject to inspections and searches by the Prosecutor's offices to determine whether or not they should be classified as ‘Foreign Agents’. Others have been warned that their activities could be regarded as ‘political’ and told they should not pursue them in future. The election-monitoring organisation Golos has already been suspended under this law.

This event will bring together leading experts on human rights in Russia for a full and frank discussion on the Foreign Agent law, the implications for the future of Russian civil society and on what is being done within Russia and on an international level to challenge these restrictions on civil liberties and human rights.

The evening will be chaired by Professor Philip Leach, Director of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre.

The panel will consist of:

Anna Sevortian , former Russia Director of Human Rights Watch

Oleg Orlov, board member of the Russian NGO Memorial

Luke Harding, journalist, The Guardian

There will be opportunities for questions and audience participation is encouraged. The European Human Rights Advocacy Centre is also running a photo exhibition at Pushkin House featuring images from their cases and their work in the former Soviet Union over the past decade. Click here to read more about the exhibition.

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