Ministry of Justice Warns 20 NGOs
The authorities continue struggling against public organizations in Belarus. Presently the sitting of the OSCE on human factors is being held in Vienna. The major subject of the discussion is freedom of associations and meetings. The official Belarusian delegation attempts to persuade the OSCE in intensive development of civil society in Belarus. The figures have been submitted for confirmation that there are over 2000 registered public organizations in Belarus. Meanwhile, the public organizations, which defend the democratic values, suffer the authorities’ persecution.
The ministry of justice distributed another set of orders and warnings to public organizations, the Polish Radio reports. Orders to give explanations were received by Leu Sapeha Foundation, the public association Belarusian People’s Front Adradhzenne and Belarusian Helsinki Committee. These organizations have the official registration but there are not many such organizations in Belarus. And the organizations are ordered to give explanations concerning their supposed participation in the unregistered Assembly of Non-Governmental Organizations.
’This is an ordinary case in Belarus when the rights of associations are breached. The Assembly of Non-Governmental Organizations made several attempts of their registration. But the ministry of justice refused the registration several times. Due to the non-legitimate actions of the policemen we suppose the archives unexpectedly disappeared from the apartment. There were the filed documents previously submitted for registration. Now the ministry of justice sent to a number (around 20) of organizations the order to give explanations. They are suspected of breaching the law on public organizations by participation in the unregistered association. The criminal charges are presumed for such activities. It is simply a continuation of the general campaign for ruining the civil society in Belarus actively launched by authorities in 1999,’ the Belarusian human rights activist Uladzimir Labkovich reported.
When Human Rights Center Viasna acted as a registered organization it was also among the founders of the Assembly of Non-Governmental Organizations. The ministry of justice refused the registration of the association and the refusal was confirmed by the Supreme Court. At present the procedure of appealing this non-legitimate decision at the UN Committee for human rights is being initiated.
But the ministry of justice refers to the fact that in compliance with a new version of the law on public organizations (valid since 29 October 2005) activities of unregistered assemblies of public organizations are banned.
The Assembly of Non-Governmental Organizations applied to the organizations of Belarus which participated in its foundation. It is said in the appeal that the founders of the Assembly of Non-Governmental Organizations do not conduct any illegal activities in compliance with the right for creation of unions (associations) by the public organizations stipulated by the law on public organizations.