Russia declined on Friday an appeal to overturn a ban on a leading non-governmental organization that provides support for victims of alleged human rights abuses in the country’s volatile North Caucasus, Vanessa Kogan, the head of the Justice Initiative non-governmental organization, said.
The Zamoskvoretsky District Court dismissed on Friday the Russian Justice Initiative’s (RJI) appeal to lift the ban on the organization that was imposed in February 2011 by the country’s Ministry of Justice.
“This shows the state is gradually tightening its policy towards NGOs,” Kogan told RIA Novosti. “Human rights violations are a very politicized issue now and our organization both in Europe and Russia poses very uncomfortable questions.”
Kogan did not rule out that political motives could be behind the Justice Ministry’s decision to ban the organization.
The Ministry of Justice annulled the NGO’s registration in February 2011 on the grounds that the organization had failed to submit financial documents on time. After this, the RJI made three attempts to re-register but the state body repeatedly dismissed the requests.
“They could have issued us a notice to inform but not to annul at once,” Kogan said.
RJI, which works closely with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (ECHR), has won a total of 109 cases worth 10 million euros in favor of human rights abuse victims and over 200 cases are now pending in the ECHR.
Currently the NGO is operating within a similar Russian non-commercial organization, Astreya.