Russia: Total disregard for human rights on “Constitution Day”

A Court in St Petersburg dealt a further blow to human rights in Russia by ordering the Anti-Discrimination Centre (ADC) Memorial to register as a “foreign agent”, Amnesty International said today.“This is a slap on the face of human rights, and it comes on the 20th anniversary of the country’s Constitution which is supposed to uphold human rights and the rule of law,” Denis Krivosheev, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Programme Director.“By forcing ADC Memorial to register as a “foreign agent” the authorities are effectively pressuring this important human rights organization into closure and discrediting its work on behalf of victims of racism and xenophobia in Russia.”This is the second time that a court in Russia has directly ordered an NGO to register as a “foreign agent” on the behest of the Prosecutor’s Office. It has ruled that all activities of the organization are “political”. The law, introduced a year ago, gives the authorities the power to impose hefty fines and severe administrative penalties on organizations which fail to register as “an organization performing the functions of a foreign agent”. The organization’s leader can face criminal prosecution and imprisonment for repeated failure to register., NGOs across Russia, including ADC Memorial, have refused to comply with the law. They say it is being used by the Government to sully their reputations by suggesting they are politically motivated organizations acting in the interests of foreign countries.