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UN urges Kenya to reject law imposing NGO restrictions

A group of UN human rights experts on Tuesday urged [press release] the Kenyan government to reject legislation that would impose severe regulations and limitations upon non-governmental organizations (NGOs). As an amendment to Kenya's Public Benefit Organization Act of 2012, the law would allow the government to deny registration of such organizations, cap foreign funding at 15 percdent of their total budgets and channel all funding through a government body. According the the UN special rapporteurs, the amendment could have profound negative consequences, infringing upon the freedom of expression, assembly and association.

Other countries, such as Russia, have also imposed restrictions upon NGOs within their borders. The Russian law [JURIST report], signed by President Vladimir Putin [official website, in Russian] in July 2012, labels all NGOs that engage in political activity as "foreign agents" and requires them to register with the Justice Ministry before receiving any foreign funding. Both UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed concern over the law's impact on freedom of speech.

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