ICNL serving as link between US Congress and International civil society

2 June 2006

In the first half of 2006 ICNL’s landmark work has appeared before the United States Congress on three occasions:

On February 8, 2006, ICNL testified before the US Helsinki Commission to address the issues arising under the new Russian NGO law. The Helsinki Commission was created in 1976 and Commissioners include Senators and Congressional representatives. ICNL’s Vice President for the NIS, Natalia Bourjaily, was the first speaker on the panel of nongovernmental experts testifying after State Department officials. An abbreviated version of her testimony is included in the unofficial hearing transcript available here.

On May 17, ICNL's research on NGO legal issues worldwide was referenced at a Helsinki Commission hearing on “Advancing the Human Dimension in the OSCE: The Role of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights." Details are available here.

On June 8, ICNL’s research will be presented at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. ICNL’s classification system of primary obstacles to democratic assistance will be utilized, as well as our research on international legal and extra-legal measures used to curtail civil society. “We are witnessing a marked increase in the use of restrictions on NGO formation, operation, and financing by foreign governments,” ICNL asserts in its research. ICNL is now working on a paper surveying response mechanisms.