On account of the raids carried out by the public prosecutor’s office and the tax and judicial authorities on numerous non governmental organizations in Russia, Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning issued the following statement in Berlin today (22 March):
"I am profoundly concerned by the large-scale raids of non governmental organizations in Russia. This unprecedented and in my opinion arbitrary behaviour is intimidating for all civil society groups in Russia.
Non governmental organizations are being accused across the board of doing illegal work. In particular NGOs with international ties that cooperate successfully with partners abroad are being branded as “foreign agents” and put in a bad light."
Diversity of opinion and a thriving civil society are the heart and soul of a democracy. I therefore call on the Russian authorities to engage in a constructive dialogue with their citizens rather than excluding and intimidating them!"