IHF Protests the Smear Campaign against the Moscow Helsinki Group
- NGOs Face Prosecution –
"The slandering of the Moscow Helsinki Group and other civil society organizations is apparently part of an official Russian policy to silence criticism and strengthen even further a centralized state power. The accusations and innuendos presented in the state-run media are ludicrous and unworthy of the journalistic profession. The program supported by the British Government was in fact a much-needed effort to increase public oversight over places of detention, a real help to Russian society in a sensitive and important area," according to Ulrich Fischer, president of the IHF.
The media campaign against the
Its powers are not stipulated by clear legal provisions, and thus leave room for arbitrary interference into the activities of NGOs. Authorities will have unprecedented powers of scrutiny of sources of funding, as well as planned and actual spending. In the law as it was adopted, there are many provisions found by Council of Europe experts to be "disproportionate".
The IHF has received information about the intention of the State Duma to request criminal proceedings against all NGOs that have been put on a black list by the FSB. The list includes, among others, the following NGOs: the Moscow Helsinki Group, Nishnij Novgorod Committee against Torture, the Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights and the Eurasia Foundation.
The IHF is appealing to Russian authorities to support, rather than attack, the work of civil society and human rights organizations that seek to assist the Russian government comply with its international commitments - as the Moscow Group pledged to do at the time of its founding almost 30 years ago, and continues today.
For further information:
Aaron Rhodes, IHF
Executive Director, Tel:+43-1-408 88 22 or +43-676-635-6612
Henriette Schroeder, IHF Press Officer, Tel: +43-1-408 88 22 or +43-676-725 48 29