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Russian authorities threaten to disband human rights movement “For Human Rights”

Status: 
Closure ruling
About the situation

On 1 November 2019, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation ruled in favour of the Russian Ministry of Justice’ request to liquidate the “For Human Rights” movement. Early in October 2019, the Ministry of Justice filed a lawsuit against the movement for “multiple constitutional violations”.

On 15 October 2019, human rights movement “For Human Rights” received a copy of a lawsuit filed against them by the Russian Ministry of Justice, demanding the court disband the movement. The lawsuit was filed earlier in the month at the Supreme Court of Russia against the movement for “multiple constitutional violations".

About For Human Rights

For Human Rights logoThe movement 'For Human Rights' keeps track of, and reports on, a wide spectrum of human rights issues including freedom of expression, refugee rights, trials monitoring and freedom of association. The movement not only works to promote and educate issues relating to human rights, but also provides social and humanitarian assistance, free legal consultations and legal representation. The movement is led by Lev Ponomarev who has been working as a human rights defender since the 1980s. He is also a member of the Moscow Helsinki Group. The human rights defender has recently been charged with repeated violations of the law on public assemblies for being an outspoken defender of human rights.

7 November 2019
Supreme Court of Russia decides to liquidate “For Human Rights” movement

On 1 November 2019, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation ruled in favour of the Russian Ministry of Justice’ request to liquidate the “For Human Rights” movement. Early in October 2019, the Ministry of Justice filed a lawsuit against the movement for “multiple constitutional violations”.

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“For Human Rights” is a Russian human rights movement found by human rights defender Lev Ponomarev which provides free legal, social and humanitarian assistance to victims of human rights violations.

On 8 October 2019, the Ministry of Justice filed a lawsuit at the Supreme Court of Russia requesting the liquidation of “For Human Rights”. The Ministry made the request on the basis that there were “administrative irregularities” that conflicted with the “foreign agents” law, resulting in “multiple constitutional violations”. In addition, the movement’s charter was argued not to comply with the 2014 amendments to the Civil Code. Representatives of the “For Human Rights” movement requested an extension to amend their charter, arguing that the it was approved before the amendments came into force. The Ministry of Justice did not respond to their request.

In February 2019, “For Human Rights” was placed on the government’s register of "foreign agents" for the second time. The movement had already been placed on the register in 2014, but was removed a year later. In the last two months, “For Human Rights” has been fined five times for not stating its "foreign agent" status in publications on its website, on Facebook and in the media, therefore violating the "foreign agents" law. On 7 December 2018, the Ministry of Justice received a request from the General Prosecution to conduct an off-schedule investigation into “For Human Rights”. The request came a day after Lev Ponomarev was arrested for 25 days for taking part in a solidarity campaign supporting the prosecuted members of of “Set’” and “Novoe velichie”.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned by the Supreme Court’s decision to liquidate human rights movement “For Human Rights”. Front Line Defenders strongly believes that the Supreme Court’s sentence is disproportionate to the violations of the movement and that the "foreign agents” law is used arbitrarily by authorities to suppress human rights work in Russia.

 

31 October 2019
Russian authorities threaten to disband human rights movement “For Human Rights”

On 15 October 2019, human rights movement “For Human Rights” received a copy of a lawsuit filed against them by the Russian Ministry of Justice, demanding the court disband the movement. The lawsuit was filed earlier in the month at the Supreme Court of Russia against the movement for “multiple constitutional violations".

In 2018, the Roskomnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media) launched aninvestigation into “For Human Rights” and found the organisation did not comply with the Charter of Social Movements which came info effect in 2014 and was subsequently registered as a ‘foreign agent’ by the Ministry of Justice. “For Human Rights” was also fined several times by the Roskomnadzor for posts and publications it made in media outlets as well as on social media, which violated the "foreign agents" law. Many of these fines have been successfully appealed by the movement, and others have already been paid.

The court hearing on the dissolution of the “For Human Rights” movement is to be held on 14 November 2019.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned by the Ministry of Justice’s request to disband human rights movement “For Human Rights”, as it is seen as a deliberate act to prevent the movement from carrying out its legitimate human rights work in Russia.