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Motion for a resolution - B9-0258/2019Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Russian Foreign Agent Law and Its Recent Amendments

17.12.2019 - (2019/2982(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure

Anna Fotyga, Ruža Tomašić, Assita Kanko, Zdzisław Krasnodębski, Charlie Weimers, Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Veronika Vrecionová, Roberts Zīle, Alexandr Vondra
on behalf of the ECR Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0258/2019

Procedure : 2019/2982(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Russian Foreign Agent Law and Its Recent Amendments


The European Parliament,

-  having regard to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, in particular Chapter 2 on the rights and freedoms of man and citizen;

-  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), to which the Russian Federation is a party;

-  having regard to the Venice Commission opinion of 13 June 2016 on Russian Federal Law No 129-FZ (Federal law on undesirable activities of foreign and international non-governmental organisations);

-  having regard to the European Parliament resolution of 18 July 2019 on Russia, notably the situation of environmental activists and Ukrainian political prisoners;

-  having regard to the statement of European Commissioner for Enlargement Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, on amendments to the “foreign agents” law in the Russian Federation;


-  having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,


  1. whereas the Russian Federation, under the obligation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, and as a full member of the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, has committed itself to the principles of democracy, rule of law and respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights;


  1. whereas the Russian authorities and political leadership continue their repressive and authoritarian policies against their own citizens, civil society, political opposition and media representatives, residing in and outside of Russia; whereas Russia’s consistent path into an authoritarian political system, has had an adverse impact on EU-Russia relations and on stability in Europe and the world;


  1. whereas the 2012 ‘foreign agents law’ and 2015 ‘undesirable organisation law’ empowered the Prosecutor General of Russia to ban foreign and international organisations deemed ‘undesirable’ without any judicial proceedings; whereas this law is increasingly being used to label, penalise and persecute Russian NGOs and civil society activists;


  1. whereas Russia has consistently been regarded as a country that is ‘not free’, including in the 2019 ratings of Freedom House, which among other key components, also measures political rights and civil liberties in the country;


  1. whereas 49 Russian NGOs have applications pending before the European Court of Human Rights (application No 9988/13), arguing that the law on foreign agents violates several human rights norms, including on freedom of expression and association, a conclusion endorsed by the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights;


  1. whereas since 2015, over nineteen international organisations have been declared “undesirable,” including the International Republican Institute, National Endowment for Democracy, Civil Society Institute and Civil Society Foundation, The Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, and Open Russia Foundation;


  1. whereas in 2019 alone, the Ministry of Justice and Russian Courts placed a number of additional entities on the list of ‘undesirable organisations’, notably People in Need, For Human Rights and Centre for Support of Indigenous Peoples of the North, which in several instances led to effective closure of some of them;


  1. whereas in October and November 2019, Memorial and its chairman, Aleksander Cherkasov was charged under the law for not adding the "foreign agent" label on their YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter accounts; whereas Russia’s so-called ’sovereign internet’ law introduced in 2019, presents an additional tool for the government’s attempt to control internet content and further suppress freedom of speech online;


  1. whereas nine reporting platforms of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) have been designated as “foreign agent” since 2012; whereas hundreds of Russian correspondents working for RFE/RL across the country are a lifeline for news-deprived local communities in the presence of significant issues ignored by state media and this act undermines their valuable work and jeopardizes their security in the government’s endeavour to silence them;


  1. whereas these above activities by the Russia authorities are part of a broader pattern of consistent crackdowns on independent media, civil society and activists in the country and outside; whereas the notion of so-called ‘foreign agent’ carries a historical meaning, akin to the Soviet Union’s policies to label and discredit political dissidents and activists; 


  1. Strongly condemns the Foreign Agents Law, including its recent amendments, which were  put in place by Russian authorities in order to suppress human rights organisations, independent media, civil society and political opponents by forcing them to focus most of their resources on paying fines, pleading their cases in courts or in some cases, completely ceasing their activities; 


  1. Is concerned that recent amendments introduced to the Foreign Agents Law broaden the scope of the regulation even further and will in practice enable authorities to also persecute individual bloggers, activists, freelance journalists and other people posting online content critical to the government;


  1. Rejects Russia’s attempt to apply the Foreign Agent Law to the social media platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter by forcing users to label themselves as “foreign agents”;


  1. Calls on the Russian authorities to immediately abolish the Foreign Agents Law and fully implement all recommendations of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, in compliance with Russia’s international obligations in this respect;


  1. Calls on the Russian Federation to comply with its obligations and the principles of democracy, rule of law and respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the European Convention on Human Rights, and as a full member of the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.


  1. Commends and endorses the activities of Russian human rights defenders and media organizations as well as individual activists and journalists, who still carry out their legitimate and peaceful human rights effort in spite of the harsh conditions created by the Russian government against these activities;


  1. Calls on the HR/VP and the Commission to provide support to non-governmental organisations, institutions and organisations that follow human rights issues and independence of the courts in the Russian Federation; calls on the EU for applying constant pressure on the Russian authorities to meet the OSCE standards of human rights, democracy, rule of law and the independence of the judiciary;


  1. Reiterates its call on the Council and HR/VP to consider and respond to Parliament's numerous recommendations calling for targeted EU sanctions against those identified as responsible for Magnitsky's death and others implicated in gross violations of human rights;


  1. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the President, Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation.




Last updated: 17 December 2019
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