News for March 2009

Ales Bialiatski: ‘Currently, the Belarusian society is constrained by repressive legislation’

31.03.2009 Ales Bialiatski: ‘Currently, the Belarusian society is constrained by repressive legislation’

Shortly after the Nasha Viasna constituent congress on 29 March, the NGO’s Chair Ales Bialiatski commented on the underlying reasons for another attempt to obtain state registration. ‘In fact, there has been a continuous process: on the one hand, we have not appealed the refusal by the Ministry of Justice yet. On the other hand, we have held another constituent congress on 29 March to draw up one more application to the Ministry of Justice. The decision is closely connected to the extremely low amount of impartial considerations of similar refusals by the Supreme Court. One can count them on the fingers of one hand – the organizations that managed to protect their rights at the Supreme Court.

31.03.2009 Union of Poles addresses General Prosecutor’s Office

The Union of Poles in Belarus has addressed the General Prosecutor’s Office with an appeal to investigate into the facts of fomenting of national hatred by the BT state-owned TV channel. In its coverage of the 15 March Congress of the Union in Hrodna, the channel ‘insulted the dignity of the Union members, by saying that the Congress declared that ‘the Poles are a superior race’, which is not true.

31.03.2009 Nasha Viasna helds congress

On 29 March, the Belarusian Popular Front’s central office hosted another constituent congress of the Nasha Viasna human rights organization, attended by its 82 representatives from all over the country. As a result of the congress, the human rights activists voted for the formation of the NGO, its charter and the action program. They also elected the governing bodies of the organization, including its Board, Chairperson and the auditing committee.

31.03.2009 “Young Front” activists, kidnapped by secret services on March 25, filed complaint to prosecutor’s office

“Young Front” activists Nasta Palazhanka and Dzyanis Karnou filed a complaint to the Frunzenski district prosecutor’s office at their kidnapping on March 25.

It should be reminded that some hours before the demonstration on Freedom Day, Nasta Palazhanka and Dzyanis Karnou were detained by militia officers. The young people were taken out of Minsk and left in a forest near the road.

31.03.2009 “Young Front” activists, kidnapped by secret services on March 25, filed complaint to prosecutor’s office

“Young Front” activists Nasta Palazhanka and Dzyanis Karnou filed a complaint to the Frunzenski district prosecutor’s office at their kidnapping on March 25.

It should be reminded that some hours before the demonstration on Freedom Day, Nasta Palazhanka and Dzyanis Karnou were detained by militia officers. The young people were taken out of Minsk and left in a forest near the road.

31.03.2009 Officials in regions pressing on BCD activists

Local officials in regions continue pressing upon participants of the foundation congress of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party (BCD)held in Minsk a month ago.

About 25 people, faced threats to be fired for membership in the party, have appealed to the party administration, Radio Racyja reports.

Dzyanis Khabirau from Polatsk has already been fired. BCD activists Kazimir Varonka and Tatsyana Klimentsyeva from Myory are under threat of dismissal.

31.03.2009 UK Foreign Ministry: Human rights situation in Belarus remains poor

The United Kingdom included Belarus in the list of 20 countries where serious violations of human rights can be noticed.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK (FCO) issued an annual report on human rights, Radio Svaboda reports.

The report gives special attention to 20 countries of concern, where, according to the British Government, violations of human rights are very serious. Belarus is among these countries.

31.03.2009 Youth leader Ivan Shyla refused the right to education

Leader of the Salihorsk branch of “Young Front” Ivan Shyla, who didn’t complete secondary education and was forcefully drafted into the army, has been refused the right to education.

Father of the young man wrote to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Belarus asking to allow his son to take a final exam for secondary school and received a negative answer, the website saligorsk.org writes.

Supreme Court to entertain claim by Nasha Viasna

27.03.2009 Supreme Court to entertain claim by Nasha Viasna

Today on 27 March the co-founders of the Nasha Viasna human rights organization received a letter from the Supreme Court of Belarus saying that the complaint against the unlawful refusal to register the NGO was received for consideration by the court. The session is due to start on 7 April. On 26 February the Ministry of Justice resolved to deny registration to Nasha Viasna. The cofounders of the organization stress that the decision was groundless and illegal. They also claim it is an evidence of systematic discrimination against the founders and the members of Nasha Viasna, as well as a sign of disrespect for the rights of Belarusian citizens.

27.03.2009 Protest action of entrepreneurs in Mahilou: tax increase cancelled

The result of the today’s meeting of entrepreneurs was that the Mahilou region executive committee suspended operation of a regulation of the region council on single tax and value added tax increase.

About 300 entrepreneurs came in the morning to Lenin square in Mahiou near the building of the region executive committee protesting against tax increase, Radio Svaboda reports.

27.03.2009 Vitsebsk oppositionists fined for celebrating Freedom Day

A judge found violations of the law on mass events in the fact that three men had come to a square with white-red-white flags.

Activist of the Conservative Christian Party-Belarusian Popular Front Syarhei Kavalenka was fined 700,000 rubles, Ihar Bazarau and Valer Alyaksandrau – 70,000 rubles, Radio Svaboda reports.

27.03.2009 Oppositionist arrested for independent press distributing

Militia officers in Hrodna detained Mikola Bausyuk, activist of the Belarusian Christian Democracy, who was distributing information bulletins among city dwellers.

Radio Racyja learnt about Mikola Basyuk’s detention from BCD co-chairman Paval Sevyarynets.

“Mikola Bausyuk was distributing a newspaper of the Belarusian Christian Democracy at the market. Usually in such cases militia detain activists, draw a report and set them free. But Mikola Bausyuk was guarded to the Kastrychnitski district militia department allegedly for a conversation with a chief,” he told.

26.03.2009 Rally of protest against human rights violations in Belarus held in Gdynia, Poland

According to the BelaPAN news agency, several dozens persons held an action of protest against human rights violations in Belarus in the town of Gdynia, Poland. The rally was organized by Amnesty International’s international network and Belarusian students of Gdansk. The activists distributed leaflets covering the latest human rights violations in the neighbouring Belarus. They also collected several hundreds of signatures under a petition to be sent to the Belarusian government, urging the authorities to abolish the death penalty in Belarus.

26.03.2009 Alyaksandr Barazenka remains under house arrest

On March 25, militia officer of the Frunzenski district of Minsk Kisel visited activist of the civil campaign “European Belarus” Alyaksandr Barazenka at the evening check and said the latter needed to go to the militia department.

The militiaman said he was a probation officer and had the right to detain him at any moment,” Radio Svaboda reports.

26.03.2009 Vitsebsk dwellers to stand trials for Freedom Day celebrating

Syarhei Kavalenka, Ihar Bazarau, Valer Alyaksandrau, Leanid Autukhou, and Alyaksandr Kuznyatsou will stand trials for participating in actions on March 25.

The cases of the five activists are to be considered by the Kastrychnitski district court of Vitsebsk today, Radio Svaboda reports.

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