Tuesday, May 21, 2013

EU Slams Russia Over Rights Abuses

EU officials criticized Russia over its human rights record, a perceived crackdown on civil society and its justice system at a recent meeting in Brussels. At EU-Russia consultations held Friday, EU officials urged Russia not to pass legislation hiking penalties for promoting homosexuality among minors, the EU said in a statement published Sunday. EU officials also said they would follow developments affecting NGOs in Russia after local elections watchdog Golos was fined for refusing to comply with legislation that came into force late last year requiring NGOs that receive funding from abroad and engage in "political activity" to register as "foreign agents." The "foreign agents" law, which leading Russian NGOs have said they will boycott, was earlier criticized by the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner. At the Brussels meeting, EU officials also questioned Russian counterparts about high-profile criminal cases against opposition leader Alexei Navalny and those charged with participating in mass riots on Bolotnaya Ploshchad last May, as well as the posthumous trial of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. In response, the Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday urged the European Union to abstain from “ideology-based” remarks on the issue of non-governmental organizations in Russia.


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