Tag Archives: NGO

Russia ‘foreign agent’ label reduces access to information

“The “foreign agent” legislation goes against Russia’s human rights obligations and commitments, and the extension of its scope to foreign media, in addition to its existing application to Russian NGOs, is a further threat to free and independent media and to access to information, and yet another attempt to shrink the space for independent voices in Russia.” – says the statement of the European External Action Service (EEAS), reacting of new law, regulating operation of foreign outlets.
The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin signed legislation allowing the Ministry of Justice to impose the use of the “foreign agent” label against any foreign media receiving, directly or indirectly, foreign funding.
“The European Union has a longstanding and clear position that the existing Russian legislation on labelling NGOs as “foreign agents” and the ensuing fines, inspections and stigmatisation for the organisations labelled, further tighten the restrictions on the exercise of fundamental freedoms in Russia, consume the scarce resources of NGOs and inhibit independent civil society in the country” – the EEAS statement concludes.

Hundreds of migrants rescued in Libya waters

Aquarius, the vessel of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), saved 421 migrants, mostly from Eritrea. There is no further information in what European port they will bring the migrants.

Meanwhile the Libyan coastguard has been also conducting sea rescue operations.

More than 200 were rescued on Saturday after their boats foundered off Libya’s western coast, the Libyan navy said.

The coastguard conducted two rescue operations off the city of Garabulli, 60 kilometres (40 miles) east of Tripoli, spokesman Colonel Abu Ajila Abdelbarri said.

He added that patrols had found 31 bodies and 60 survivors from one boat, while all 140 passengers had survived in a second boat.

Migrants from Somalia, Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria and four from Pakistan were among those rescued.

Libyan patrol boat commander Nasser al-Ghammoudi said one of the vessels was three-quarters under water when the coastguard arrived.

Russian ‘foreign agent’ accused of ignoring law

“The criminal charges brought against activist Valentina Cherevatenko, a leader in the NGO “Union of Women of Don”, represent the first criminal case opened under the “foreign agents” law in Russia,” – says the  statement of the  European External Action service.

“The practice of declaring NGOs as “foreign agents” restricts civil society and impedes the exercise of fundamental freedoms.”

“Ms Cherevatenko’s outstanding work on human rights education, peace building, and humanitarian issues is well-known and widely appreciated” – the EEAS statement concludes.

Valentina Cherevatenko is the chairwoman of the coordinating council of the Union “Women of the Don”, as well as the chairman of the Board of the Foundation for the Promotion of Civil Society “Women of the Don”. The Union of Women of the Don, whose goals coincide with the goals of the Foundation, carries out peacekeeping initiatives in the North Caucasus, seeking “dialogue and promoting the idea of ​​tolerance for different strata of society,” and organizes social receptions where citizens are consulted on social and legal issues. In addition, the organization is actively involved in the protection of women’s rights in the region, focusing on violence against women and gender discrimination.

In Russia Cherevatenko came to public attention when brought bunch of flowers to Nadejda Savchenko in custody on the 8th of March International Women’s Day. The gesture was negatively perceived by Russian mass media, characterising it as ‘wreath to assassin”.

The chairman of the union “Women of the Don” Valentina Cherevatenko is accused of “malicious non-fulfillment” of the requirements of the law on foreign agents (Article 330.1 of the Criminal Code), Mediazone informs. This article foresees the punishment in the form of a fine of up to 300,000 rubles, correctional labor, or imprisonment for a period of two years.
“The investigation was conducted for a year. I do not admit my guilt absolutely. We defended ourselves and continue to defend ourselves. The cases are in the European Court,”- Cherevatenko said. She heads the coordinating council of the union “Women of the Don”, who collectively makes decisions, but the accusation is presented to her personally.
Union “Women of the Don” was included by the Russian Ministry of Justice in the register of foreign agents in 2014. Cherevatenko also heads the board of the same fund for the promotion of civil society and human rights, which was included in the register in 2015. The decisions were consistently appealed.

NGOs as public transport operators for African migrants

The Italian prosecution  is investigating members of humanitarian organizations – NGOs – rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean Sea on suspicion they may have cooperated with people smugglers. The ‘taxi-service’ is what the NGOs activities in Mediterranean sea are called among concerned European tax-payers watching flows of illegal migrants streaming daily to Europe.

Ambrogio Cartosio, chief prosecutor of the western Sicilian city of Trapani, told a parliamentary committee in Rome that the organizations themselves were not a target of the inquiry.

Suspicions arose because some rescue crew seemed to know in advance where to find the flimsy boats crowded with migrants after smugglers sent them off from north African ports, he said.

Migrant arrivals to Italy by sea are up almost 40 percent this year over the same period in 2016, and more than a half-million people have come in the past three years. Some Italian politicians also have begun saying the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) run a “taxi” service bringing migrants to Italy.

“We understand that NGOs made some rescues at sea without informing the Coast Guard,” Cartosio said. Italy’s Coast Guard is in charge of coordinating all rescues in international waters off the shores of Libya.

The prosecutor gave no further details. By law, information regarding ongoing probes must be kept secret. Aid groups have strongly denied any ties to human traffickers.

Italy calls for invesigation of NGO "taxi service" to migrants

The officials in Italy suspect that rescue vessels operated by charities and humanitarian organizations co-operate with smugglers based in Libya. Some of these NGOs act as a sort of “taxi service” by picking refugees up just off the African coast and then transporting them across the Mediterranean Sea to Italy instead of returning them to Africa, Italian officials say. Italy  has received more than half a million migrants in the last three years,. Nowadays there is a word of a number of NGOs operating as ‘transport’ companies funded by billionaire George Soros, who pledged to invest up to $500 million in programs and companies benefiting migrants and refugees fleeing life-threatening situations.

Soros’s agenda aimed at the destruction of national borders in Europe in creation of new markets.

The Italian authorities are interested to investigate the funding of charity boats transporting the migrants. Critics of the charity boat operators say they are colluding with criminal smugglers and, in effect, are accomplices in the deaths of so many migrants trying to reach Europe.

“If the government does not decide to put a brake on these boats, we will find ourselves overrun by tens of thousands of African immigrants by the end of the year,” said Paolo Grimoldi, a lawmaker who belongs to the Lega Nord (Nothern League) party, Reuters reported.




ECJ: humanitarian visa is a national competence

The EU’s top court based in Luxembourg ruled Tuesday that states can deny short-term humanitarian visas to people trying to enter to claim asylum, in a case of a Syrian family trying to come to Belgium.

The decision by the  European Court of Justice in Kirchberg was seen as a test case for EU countries facing a surge in refugees in the past two years, mainly from Syria’s civil war.

In a surprise judgment, the court ruled against the family from the besieged city of Aleppo who had applied for the humanitarian visas at the Belgian embassy in the Lebanese capital Beirut last October.



MEP Atkinson questions NGO role in smugglings migrants

Ship-tracking software and reports from journalists prove that NGOs, the Italiann Coast Guard and smugglers coordinate their actions. The Automatic Identification System (AIS) exposes NGOs operating in Libyan territorial waters. Since the ouster of President Ghadafi, a growing number of Africans are smuggled into Europe. They travel via Libya from where they cross the Mediterranean. Different “humanitarian” organisations or NGOs involved are an indispensable part of the smuggle route to Europe. We noticed that the Italian coast guard, NGOs and locals coordinate their actions. Whatever they call it themselves, these operations cannot be classified as genuine rescue operations.

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