NGOs to convene in Russia ahead of G8 summit
Representatives of non-governmental organizations will gather in Moscow for a two-day forum Monday in the run-up to the Group of Eight summit of leaders from the industrialized world later this month.
The organizers said the forum, the Civil G8-2006, would discuss matters of concern for the international community ahead of the summit, adding that NGOs could draft proposals to be considered when setting out agendas for further G8 summits.
Over 700 people representing prominent rights organizations, including the International Helsinki Group, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Charities Aid Foundation, and others, are expected to attend the NGO forum.
Russia is presiding over the club of rich nations this year and St. Petersburg will host a meeting of leaders on July 15-17. The leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, France, Germany and Italy will be joining Russian President Vladimir Putin for Russia's debut summit.
The program includes roundtable discussions on global energy security, environmental problems, efforts to curb HIV/AIDS, and human rights, the organizing committee said.
The NGO meeting in Russia follows the passing of a new law in the country on public organizations, setting more stringent and complicated financial reporting requirements. The law, which came into effect in April, has been criticized in the West and liberal groups in Russia as being too restrictive.
Lawmakers and political scientists in Russia have claimed that NGOs helped "color revolutions" in neighboring ex-Soviet countries, particularly Ukraine and Georgia, which swept away the ruling elite in favor of West-leaning authorities in 2004 and 2003.