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United Russia urges "Golos" association to address adopted children's rights in foreign foster families

April 10, 2013, 13:46 UTC+3

On Tuesday, the Russian Justice Ministry said it had opened a case of administrative offence against the association which failed to register as "a foreign agent"

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MOSCOW, April 10 (Itar-Tass) - The United Russia Party urged the "Golos" association to re-direct its activity toward the protection of children in foreign foster families, and help compatriots resolve their problems.

First deputy head of the United Russia faction at the State Duma /parliament/ Otari Arshba told the plenary session on Wednesday that he wanted to give "free advice" to certain non-profit organizations, such as Golos, which had been "screaming for weeks about the outrage committed against children."

"Perhaps it should raise its voice and re-direct its activity to protect our adopted children and compatriots' rights in general," Arshba suggested, adding that "we'll find money" for Golos in this country; thus "it will be fairer."

On Tuesday, the Russian Justice Ministry said it had opened a case of administrative offence against the Association of Non-Profit Organizations "In Defense of Voters' Rights "GOLOS" which failed to register as a non-profit making organization - "a foreign agent."

"The association receives funding from foreign sources," according to the information of the Federal Fiscal Monitoring Service," the Ministry's press service told Tass.

"Simultaneously, the Association engages in political activity in the Russian territory.

"Therefore, the Association receives foreign funding and engages in political activity in Russia, i.e. it performs the functions of foreign agent, and, contrary to the requirements of Article 32, Item 7 of the federal law on non-profit organizations, the Association has not submitted up to date an application to include it in the list of non-profit organizations performing the functions of foreign agent," the Justice Ministry underlined.

The Justice Ministry reminded that since 2008, the association has been implementing the project to increase the transparency of the Russian electoral process on the basis of discussing and promoting a standardized Election Code.

"The objective of the project is to draw the public's attention to the necessity to amend the election legislation by adopting an entirely new legislative act - the Election Code. To promote the Code, the association shapes the public opinion by providing coverage of the draft Election Code. The public actions and events to promote the Election Code aim at influencing the decisions made by government bodies and forming the public opinion," the Justice Ministry said.

The Justice Ministry said it would send the protocols of administrative offense to a court on Wednesday.

The offense in question is punished by 100,000- to 300,000-rouble fines for officials and 300,000 to 500,000-rouble fines for organizations.

Meanwhile, Golos has denied the Justice Ministry's accusations that it gets funding from abroad and engages in politics.

"On April 3, we received the prosecutor's demand that we submit documents, while on April 4 they demanded that we come to the Justice Ministry for drawing a protocol of violation. The decision was ready before we had time to submit the documents," Golos deputy executive director Grigory Melkonyats told Tass.

"We'll appeal with a court, because Golos does not engage in politics; aside from that it has not received funding from foreign sources since the law on non-profit organizations - "foreign agents" came into effect. As far as I know, the Justice Ministry's document mentions the funds received in 2008, but the law is not retroactive," Melkonyats said.

According to the Agora rights organization which represents the interests of Golos, the Justice Ministry regards the Sakharov Prize awarded to Golos by Norwegian rights activists as foreign funding. Golos has not received any funds from foreign sources since the law on non-profit organizations - "foreign agents" - came into effect," Agora director Pavel Chikov told Tass.

Chikov said Golos had ordered to have the Sakharov Prize money sent back.


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