Again revealing its deference to dictatorial regimes, ISO TC 176 has elected to hold its upcoming plenary session in Rwanda, a country that has formal ties with Russia.

According to an April 2023 report by Deutsche Welle, Rwandan President Paul Kagame reiterated his support of Vladimir Putin, taking potshots at countries who have criticized Rwanda for the move.

You know, you hear people complain about China and Russia’s presence in Africa, but how about them, and what right do they have to be in Africa that others don’t have?

Kagame further distanced himself from the international outcry over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by feigning ignorance of the issue.

Leave [Russia] to their own other problems. Like they have a problem with the war in Ukraine. I have no idea [about] its origins and how it’s going to end.

ISO has increasingly tilted its support toward Russia since Sergio Mujica took over the ISO Secretary-General position in 2018. In 2019, he met with Vladimir Putin’s “Puppet President,” Dmitry Medvedev, and promised to steer ISO into close ties with Russia. Subsequently, Mujica has ignored the international war crimes for which Putin and Russia are accused and personally congratulated Russia only two weeks after its invasion of Ukraine.

Elsewhere in ISO, the committee on oil and gas arctic operations recently allowed a Gazprom executive to take over as subcommittee chair. Gazprom is a Russian state-run company under international sanctions for its role in the Ukraine invasion.

Swiss law requires compliance with EU sanctions, but ISO has ignored those laws to date, treating itself as a “neutral” body in the style of the United Nations. Legally, however, ISO is simply a not-for-profit publishing company, registered as a “nongovernmental organization” in Switzerland. ISO’s status as an NGO is being probed by Oxebridge, as it is believed ISO’s revenue stream disqualifies it for that status, and ISO may also be in violation of Swiss tax laws.

Holding the TC 176 plenary in Rwanda is largely seen as an attempt to ensure poor turnout. The requirements for physical attendance at the event are severe, requiring expensive flights and numerous vaccinations. It is believed the poor turnout will then be used to allow key TC 176 leaders, and the ISO Technical Management Board, to force changes on ISO 9001 without the full participation of member nations.


ISO Benchmark

Why we report on these topics

Since 2000, Oxebridge has worked to improve ISO and related certification schemes by identifying problems and then proposing solutions. We report on issues affecting standards users because so few other news outlets do. Our belief is that in order to fix the problems in these schemes, we must first understand the nature and breadth of those problems. Our reporting aims to do just that. Elsewhere on the Oxebridge site you will find White Papers and other articles proposing ideas to correct these problems.