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Rights group asks G8 to lobby Putin against restrictive NGO bill

[JURIST] Monitoring group Human Rights Watch [website] Wednesday asked [press release] the G8 [backgrounder], the heads of government of the major industrial democracies, to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin not to sign a controversial bill that would create an oversight group with greatly increased control over the funding and activites of non-governmental orginizations, including the Russian arms of a number of international human rights groups. The legislation, on its way to Putin after approval [JURIST report] Tuesday by the Federation Council [official website], the Russian upper house of parliament, implements strict registration requirements, imposes financial oversight, and provides for dissolution of NGOs if an organization participates in activities deemed to deviate from the groups' explicit mission statement. The legislation has been partially amended to address criticisms since the Russian Duma, the lower house, passed its first version, but HRW and other BGO representatives say that the changes do not go far enough. Putin has said that the legislation would prevent foreign interests from financing political activities within Russia through NGOs. Russia takes over the presidency of the G8 [Russian G8n presidency website] from the UK in January 2006. CBC has more.

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