News / Europe

Council of Europe Concerned About Russia's Human-Rights Record

Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland addresses news conference, Kiev, Sept. 10, 2012 file photo.Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland addresses news conference, Kiev, Sept. 10, 2012 file photo.
x
Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland addresses news conference, Kiev, Sept. 10, 2012 file photo.
Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland addresses news conference, Kiev, Sept. 10, 2012 file photo.
— Thorbjorn Jagland, secretary general of the Council of Europe, has told President Vladimir Putin that the human rights body is concerned about Russia's law requiring non-governmental organizations to register as foreign agents.
 
Jagland said Europe will watch how the Kremlin implements the law that went in effect last November, a measure requiring non-governmental organizations that receive foreign funding to register as "foreign agents" — a term synonymous with espionage during the Soviet era.
 
Golos, Russia's only independent vote-monitoring agency, was recently fined nearly $10,000 for failing to register as a foreign agent. Its director says that the organization has not received any foreign funding since the law went into effect.
 
Since Russian President Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin for an unprecedented third term, throughout which has faced large-scale protests, he has consistently maintained the United States is funding the opposition. As a result, Russia's parliament quickly passed the new NGO law, and critics say the measure is meant to suppress dissent.
 
Despite widespread criticism from Europe and the West, Jagland says he believes the Kremlin will not budge when it comes to the new law.
 
"I do not believe that there will be changes in the law text in the foreseeable future," he said. "This is based on what I have heard, but one will now have the emphasis on how this law is being implemented."
 
Jagland also called on Kremlin officials to allow gays to march in demonstrations across Russia.
 
"Russian authorities have an obligation to also protect that LGBT people can express their views and entertain demonstrations in order to express their views," he said. "This is a fundamental principle in the European Convention on Human Rights."
 
Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, but the government routinely bans gay pride parades and rallies. The office of Moscow's mayor has refused to grant permission for a gay pride demonstration scheduled to take place on May 25.
 
Lawmakers in St. Petersburg last year passed a new law against promoting homosexuality, saying it adversely affects children and families. Critics say it's just another way for the Kremlin to abuse human rights.
 
Russian officials defend the country's human-rights record.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
May 22, 2013 8:38 PM
Maybe it’s too little for Mr Thorbjorn Jagland, secretary general of the Council of Europe, to tell Mr Vladimir Putin about his concern for non-governmental organizations to register as foreign agents. It’s the same as in a famous Russian fable with Vaska, the cat, when the cook shames the cat that keeps eating stolen meat (basic human rights). Why Mr Thorbjorn Jagland “weeps” over (Russian) hair when the head (basic human rights) is already chopped off in the country? What does the controversial registration of NGOs in Russia mean more after there has been gross violation in the rigging and stealing elections and basic human rights are permanently suspended and abused all over the Russian Federation?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid