Zmitsier Bandarenka: "The regulation passed by Minister Halavanau is another step toward totalitarianism"
The regulation passed by the Ministry of Justice that demands state registration of blocs of political parties and trade unions, and movements, initiatives and coalitions bans activity of unregistered civil structures on the territory of Belarus.
Uladzimier Labkovich, a lawyer of the human rights center Viasna, explained that the Civil Code does not require registration of civil initiatives, while election blocs of political parties are registered by Central Election Committee: "I am afraid that acting on behalf of such initiatives will be treated as activity on behalf of an unregistered organization with all consequences. For the mass media this can be a reason for liquidation, and for individuals – a reason for administrative punishment, a fine or even administrative arrest. This continues preparations for the presidential campaign. Because the main entities will be informal associations, because all civil associations have already been eliminated, they are now delivering a final blow".
One of the Zubr movement coordinators Uladzimier Kobiets reminds that even earlier members of his organizations used to be punished for activity on behalf of an unregistered organization, there used to be arrests and fines: "The task is to simply paralyze civil society before the elections. The sole goal is preserve the regime. I do not think this is the last regulation, the last move by the authorities. We will see something exotic".
Zmitsier Bandarenka, the coordinator of the civil initiative Charter-97, said that the associations or movement would not contact the Ministry of Justice for registration: "Lukashenka is consistently building a totalitarian state. And the regulation passed by Minister Halavanau is another step toward totalitarianism in Belarus. In fact this is a ban on other-mindedness. The government wants to control the thoughts of the people".
Anatol Liabedzka, Chair of the United Civil Party, sees the Ministry of Justice regulation as politically-motivated. In an interview with Radio Liberty he said that this step is connected with the Congress of Democratic Forces: "In fact, this is an attempt at the existence of the opposition political parties as registered bodies".