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Attention called to Russian rights record

June 19, 2013 at 10:05 AM

PARIS, June 19 (UPI) -- The International Federation for Human Rights said the U.N. Human Rights Council needs to weigh in on the targeting of civil organizations in Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin backed legislation last year requiring non-governmental organization to register as "foreign agents" if they receive some of their funding from foreign countries.

The rights federation, known by its French initials FIDH, said Wednesday it was frustrated because the United Nations did not address the issue during the latest meeting for the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Olga Abramenko, director of FIDH member Anti-Discrimination Center Memorial in St. Petersburg, said the council needs to be consistent about oversight.

"During its next session, to be held in September, the council should strongly condemn the harassment and criminalization of Russian NGOs that receive foreign funding, as well as the reprisals carried out against Russian civil society organizations," she said in a statement.

Abramenko's organization was targeted by Russian authorities acting under the auspices of the 2012 law.

Putin defended the measure as a part of legislation aimed at encouraging more transparency. His critics accuse him of acting out against organizations or individuals questioning his policies.

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