International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) today learned that it has been declared to be an “undesirable organization” on the territory of the Russian Federation by the Prosecutor General’s Office and that the Office instructed the Ministry of Justice to include IPHR in the list of undesirable foreign and international organizations.
We deeply regret this designation which we regard as unjust and unfounded as IPHR’s work in the Russian Federation has always focused on promoting the implementation of the international human rights commitments which Russia voluntarily took upon itself and does not in any way constitute a threat to the Russian state or its security. We believe today’s decision runs directly counter to Russia’s international obligations on freedom of association and other fundamental rights.
International human rights bodies have repeatedly criticized Russian laws on so-called undesirable organizations and foreign agents, which have had a chilling effect on civil society organizations in the country and which directly conflict with Russia’s international obligations.
We urge the Russian authorities to reverse today’s designation and to allow IPHR to continue its work on protecting the rights of vulnerable people in Russia, to the benefit of the country and its citizens. Sadly, today’s decision leaves us no choice but to immediately halt our activities in Russia. However, we are considering ways to challenge the decision.
Introduced in 2015, the law on ‘’undesirable organizations’’ grants Russian prosecutors the power to extrajudicially declare foreign and international organizations “undesirable” in Russia because they are considered to “represent a threat to the foundations of the constitutional order and security of the Russian Federation”. A designation means a ban on the work of affected organizations in the country and any cooperation with them by Russian organizations and citizens under a threat of criminal persecution. Recent amendments to the law extended the status of ‘’undesirable’’ organizations to any groups that provide services or transfer money to designated organizations and introduced even harsher penalties.