Vitebsk Youth NGO Veras Warned
Justice Department of Vitebsk city administration issued a written warning to Veras youth non-governmental organization.
The warning was made on the ground of the check-up, which continued for over 3 months.
Officials mainly claim that according to its Statute, Veras had no right to organize a roundtable on the issue of inter-ethnic relations in the region and had no right to do volunteer work.
The above-mentioned event was held in Vitebsk in 3 December 2003 in the framework of the ?#152;'Equality. Tolerance. Respect’' project. The roundtable was attended by representatives of ethnic minorities, activists of local NGOs, and journalists. The participants analyzed inter-ethnic relations in Vitebsk and made proposals for improvement of the situation in this sphere. The event received wide coverage in mass media.
After the roundtable the city administration requested explanations from Veras leadership. Information Department officer Iryna Puchkova showed evident displeasure with some negative opinions about the situation of ethnic minorities in Vitebsk region voiced at the roundtable. Ms. Puchkova was especially annoyed by the statements of a teacher from Poland, who works in Vitebsk Polish House and is well aware of the situation of Polish minority in the region.
The Justice department also claims that Veras violated the Law by creation of a Local Volunteer Center as an organization department. The Local Volunteer Center organizes young people for charitable and social work. ?#152;"It's incomprehensible why the Justice department insists Veras should close the Center down’, -- says Veras chairperson Yaraslaw Mantsevich.
Veras plans to appeal to court against the warning.