The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights has taken
stock of the developments which have occurred between 2016 and 2018
and is concerned about new legislative restrictions imposed on the
activities of NGOs and by the increasingly hostile climate towards
them. In Azerbaijan and in the Russian Federation, the working conditions
of NGOs continue to deteriorate as a result of the implementation
of laws restricting their foreign financing. In Hungary, a new law
on the transparency of organisations receiving support from abroad
came into force and the government proposed a ‟Stop Soros” package
of laws aimed at restricting the activities of NGOs assisting migrants.
In Romania and Ukraine, draft laws imposing additional financial
reporting obligations on NGOs are currently before parliament.
The committee is particularly concerned about the situation
in Turkey, where, following the introduction of the state of emergency,
almost 1 600 associations and foundations have been closed down.
The Council of Europe member States are called upon to fully
respect the right to freedom of association and to consult civil
society on the relevant draft laws. The Council of Europe should
establish a mechanism for receiving alerts on restrictions imposed
on NGOs and strengthen its co-operation with them.