- Aaron Hernandez investigated for threatening to kill prison guard
- Putin tells Merkel that Ukraine is on the brink of civil war
- San Antonio mayor to Obama: Give amnesty to illegals with legal families
- NYPD disbands unit that spied on Muslims to go after ‘real bad guys’
- Donald Rumsfeld has ‘no idea’ if he paid taxes correctly
- Bradley Manning named honorary grand marshal of San Francisco Pride parade
- Look out PayPal: Facebook working toward mobile payments system
- U.S. rebukes Iran’s U.N. envoy pick over 1979 embassy attack
- Stoned mom avoids jail after driving 12 miles with baby on roof
- More than 100 ‘inappropriate’ encounters between NYC school staffers, students since 2009: report
Charities in Russia stymied by new law
MOSCOW — Dozens of human rights groups and humanitarian charities will be forced to suspend work in Russia today after missing a deadline for registering under a law against foreign support of nongovernmental agencies.
Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the law, which faced widespread criticism internationally, earlier this year.
It allows authorities to shut down nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) if they fail to register again with Russia’s Justice Ministry, provide financial data and submit program plans for approval.
The estimated 400 to 500 foreign-funded NGOs operating in Russia had until yesterday to hand in their requests for registration.
NGOs will be allowed to continue submitting requests until Jan. 18 but will not be allowed to work without registration until they do. They will remain legal entities, however, allowing them to maintain offices and pay staff.
A list published yesterday on the Federal Registration Service Web site showed 80 NGOs whose registration had been approved, including British charity Oxfam, the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Center. Foreign adoption agencies accounted for most of the list.
Among the organizations that failed to obtain registration were Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
“We won’t be able to do anything substantive,” said Allison Gill, the director of the Moscow office of Human Rights Watch, which was unable to obtain the necessary documents to apply before yesterday’s deadline. “We won’t be able to issue press releases, interview victims of human rights abuses, do public advocacy — any of the real work that matters.”
Some NGOs, including Amnesty International, IRI and NDI, were able to submit documents in time but have yet to win approval from registration officials.
Officially, authorities must respond to registration requests within 30 days, but NGO representatives say bureaucrats can delay the process with requests for additional documents.
“We expect they’ll be finding ‘mistakes’ in our documents,” said Sergei Nikitin, the Moscow representative of Amnesty International. “I don’t know when we’ll be able to get back to work. If I’m being really optimistic, it could be a few months.”
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that four foreign NGOs doing extensive humanitarian work in the North Caucasus, including the Danish Refugee Council and the International Rescue Committee, had suspended their operations in the region until they could obtain registration.
Registration officials have said NGOs are to blame for missing the deadline and that many have had to resubmit documents that were riddled with errors.
But NGOs say they haven’t been given enough time to come up with the reams of documents required for registration and complain that many of the government’s demands are unrealistic.
Among the information needed, for example, are extensive background details, including passport numbers and addresses, on NGO founders, no matter how old the group is or if its founders are long dead.
By returning to goodness, the nation can achieve greatness once again
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- CARSON: Recovering Tocqueville's vision of American exceptionalism
- HURT: Wilson and Obama ... 100 years apart, but so alike
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- U.S. military on high alert as Ukraine troops trade gunfire with pro-Russian militants
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
- HHS nominee Sylvia Burwell entangled in MetLife lawsuit
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes