Following the Russian Justice Ministry’s decision on 13 March 2018 to list the European Platform for Democratic Elections as an “undesirable foreign organisation”, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, Bärbel Kofler, issued the following statement in Berlin today (14 March):
I am outraged that the European Platform for Democratic Elections has been listed as an “undesirable foreign organisation” in Russia. In an attempt to discredit independent election observation, even before this decision was taken, the Russian media were awash with fake news and allegations about the NGO European Exchange, which is registered in Germany and receives support from the Federal Foreign Office.
The threat of prosecution hanging over Russian partner organisations as a result of the listing just a few days before the presidential elections casts an extremely critical light on the Russian Government’s approach to its international obligation to conduct free and fair elections. It is also a worrying signal for German Russian relations.
I therefore urge the Russian Government to reverse its decision on the listing. Now in particular, we need clear confirmation that laws are applied in Russia only within the framework of international human rights obligations, that cross border civil society cooperation is welcome and, above all, that the elections will be held in a democratic manner, which includes civil society participation.