Authorities Try to Disperse Summer Camp of Evangelic Christians
The chief ideologist of Valozhyn district executive committee has ordered to hold up the camp set up by the evangelists, and to present a list of everyone who resides there. Lawyers consider the order unreasonable and illegal. The camp was organized by the Jesus Christ Church community of Religious Association of Christians of the Full Gospel.
According to the press-release edited by the Human Rights Christian House, on 10 July the head of Valozhyn district executive committee ideological department Aleh Bobryk ordered to hold up the authorized tent camp near Minsk. Moreover, the ideologist demands a full list of all the camp’s residents.
’Such a way of spending vacations - with families, outside the city - is traditional for our churches’, - says Barys Charnahlaz, the priest of Jesus Christ Church of Minsk. ‘In the places where we set up camps there is always wonderful atmosphere, good organization, everything necessary for the people. I regard the demands to leave illegal. This camp was authorized, but the powers press us and again attempt to deprive us of the right to come together. Even here, in the woods, we cannot find peace!’
Six officials - head of Valozhyn district executive committee ideological department A.Bobryk, executive committee workers, and two more people who neither showed any documents nor introduced themselves - visited the camp on 6 July. During their visit the officials and the unknown examined the site and interrogated several children without the permission of their parents.
Bobryk attended the site again on 10 July and demanded to hold up the camp. But the believers refused to obey claiming the order illegal. A.Bobryk arrived once again in the evening to pass a document with the order presented in written form. Lawyers consider that the document has no legal power. ‘The paper passed by A.Bobryk cannot be called an official document’, - says lawyer Dzina Shautsova. ‘It doesn’t meet the requirements of the acting legislation and documentation standards. Analyzing the situation I come to the conclusion that the state institutions implement the legislation inaccurately and hence their demand ‘to ensure departure of the community members from the camp to their domiciles’ is illegal and unreasonable.’
The believers of Jesus Christ Church have been spending vacations all together for 11 years, and have never encountered any problems with authorization. The camp is set up near the town of Rakau near Minsk and the vacations are split in three sessions, 30 June – 15 July, each session is attended by 150-200 people. A music festival which hosts performers of Christian music from all over Belarus is to start on 11 July, but now there arose the problem of holding the festival.