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Russian upper house passes bill limiting NGOs

[JURIST] The Federation Council [official website], Russia's upper house of parliament, voted 152-1 Tuesday for a bill first approved by the lower house last month [JURIST report] that greatly increases state control over non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by implementing strict registration requirements, imposing financial oversight on their operations, and providing for dissolution if an organization participates in activities deemed to deviate from the groups' explicit mission statement. The bill as passed by the Council incorporated several amendments demanded by President Vladimir Putin [JURIST report] that would lessen restrictions on civil advocacy groups. Putin, who has nonethless said that the bill is necessary to protect the country's political system [press release], may now sign the bill into law. Several prominent international rights groups, including Human Rights Watch [press release; briefing paper] and Greenpeace [advocacy website] have complained that the new restrictions may force their organizations to withdraw from Russia. AP has more.

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