Assembly of Democratic NGOs Issue “Witnesses of Persecution of Belarusian NGOs”
Representatives of the Assembly of democratic public associations presented in Minsk the book “Witnesses of Persecution of Belarusian NGOs” with information about facts of persecution of NGOs by the authorities and surnames of the officials who had relation to it.
For 2003-2004 Belarusian courts of different instances liquidated 56 NGOs on the request of the Ministry of Justice. 78 organizations had to conduct self-liquidation as a result of pressurization.
Representatives of the Assembly decided to collect in one book all facts and reasons for liquidation of NGOs and also publish new documents that witnessed the real reasons for liquidation and non-registration of public organizations.
Besides, the book contains a part of office correspondence of the justice minister Viktar Halavanaw with the vice-head of the presidential administration Aleh Praliaskowski who heads the commission on registration of public associations. The minister enumerates the organizations that were to be registered (mainly sportive ones) and that were not to be registered (mainly those that were founded by opposition-minded public activists). Mr. Halavanaw also wrote that some organizations (such as Association of businessmen of Mahiliow region) were to be registered because they were supported by the head of Mahiliow Regional Executive Committee Barys Batura.
The head of the liquidation Independent Society of Legal Research Alena Tankachova thusly commented on these documents:
-- When one turns attention to the inner sense of the documents that are signed by this high-level duty official, it is getting a bit frightening. We see the organizations that are proposed for registration by the Ministry of Justice. 21 of the 32 organizations standing in the list are sportive, not social or human rights ones. Judging by the results of the ministry work, the main problem in the country is development of sport and tourism.
Grounding on the documents that were placed in the book the Assembly leaders complained to the Supreme Court, asking it to oblige the ministry with registration of their association.