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UN Rights Commissioner Still Concerned at Russia's New NGO Law

MOSCOW. Feb 24 (Interfax) - UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said the recently passed Russian bill on nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) is still a concern.

There are still several areas - NGO registration and their tax accounting - where the law lacks clarity, Arbour said on Friday at a press conference at the Interfax central office.

The question is how the new law will be applied in practice, she said. The law comes into effect in April. The general understanding is that everything will depend on how the law is applied, Arbour said. It will be monitored very carefully both in Russia and abroad, she added.

If the law is applied with certain constraints, it will not seriously hinder the work of the NGOs, she said.

The Russian authorities amended the initial NGO draft bill after consulting with the Council of Europe, Arbour said, noting that these amendments seem to have improved the most problematic points.