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Czechs Summon Russian Envoy Over Blacklisting Of NGO

The People in Need NGO supports human rights and also provides humanitarian and development aid.

The Czech Foreign Ministry has summoned the Russian ambassador to Prague after Moscow listed a Czech nongovernmental organization as "undesirable" in Russia.

Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Povejsil asked envoy Aleksandr Zmeyevsky for an explanation and voiced "concern" over the move, the ministry said on November 14.

Russia's Justice Ministry blacklisted the disaster relief and human rights group on November 12, without explaining what it did to violate "the rights and freedoms of Russian Federation citizens."

Founded in 1992, People In Need is the 19th organization to be blacklisted since Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the "undesirable" law in 2015.

The legislation has been criticized by human rights watchdogs who have said it would "bolster an ongoing draconian crackdown which is squeezing the life out of civil society" in Russia.

According to the group's website, People In Need strives to "inspire a largeness of spirit in Czech society by helping others in need, and to promote democratic freedom for all."