MOSCOW, April 1 (RAPSI) – Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council has turned to the Government urging it to adopt a package of measures aimed at protecting NGOs during the coronavirus pandemic in a letter sent by the Council Chair Valery Fadeyev to Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, the body’s press-service informs.

President Vladimir Putin has offered a package of measures aimed at support of small and midsize businesses in the present complicated situation; however, due to certain legal reasons, numerous not-for-profit organizations have not been included and are therefore threatened their very existence, the statement reads.

Proposals put forward by respective authorities and NGOs have been already submitted to the Government; the Council urges it to support them, Fadeyev is quoted as writing in the letter.

A Council member Svetlana Makovetskaya has noted that the proposed package contains such measures as lower tax burden on labor, a six months moratorium with respect to legal provisions restricting NGOs activities outside those fixed in their chapters, annulment of punitive penalties for untimely presentation of annual reports, and suspension of fulfillment of commitments as per state procurement contracts and grant agreements.

Certain proposals stem from the fact that NGOs are employers like any other economic agents, therefore they are also entitled to lower burden on their salary funds, Makovetskaya has said.

Moreover, in the pandemic situation many NGOs have to undertake actions part of which is outside of those set in their chapters, what may be punishable under the legislation currently in force by the Justice Ministry acting as the regulator in this sphere, thence the proposal to start a six month or if need be longer moratorium on the use of such provisions with the exception of activities subject to licensing or other special regulations, the rights activist has added.

Yet another part of proposals concerns easing of some requirements as to annual reporting, the preparation of which demands time, resources and efforts unavailable in the crisis situation of spreading coronavirus disease; NGOs also need a relaxation of the rules governing state procurement contracts and grants, according to Makovetskaya.