Five and One Reasons Not to Register Human Rights Association ‘Viasna’
The founders of the human rights public association ‘Viasna’ have finally received an official letter of the Ministry of Justice ‘On refusal of state registration for the public association’. There are several reasons that have been invented by the officials for the refusal.
The first one: ‘During the check-up of the information about the founders of the public association it was found that some of the information that was specified in the list of founders was not true’. The letter does not give any details or examples of ‘untrue’ information.
The second: ‘… according to the information of the Ministry of Internal Affairs 20 out of 69 founders… were administratively punished for such violations as distribution of printed editions that were produced with violation of the established order…, violation of the order of organization or holding assemblies, meetings, street processions, etc., violation of the order of use of unregistered flags and streamers at mass actions, etc., petty hooliganism.’
Number three: ‘… paragraph 2.1 of the presented charter determines only the main aim of the activity… of ‘Viasna’ which does not exclude the possibility for this association to have other aims of the activity that are not described in the charter…. Besides, the main aim of the public human rights association ‘Viasna’ is to defend human rights and freedoms on the basis of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus.’ However, ‘as it is determined by part 1 of article 20 of the law of the Republic of Belarus On public associations, public associations, have the right to defend only the rights and legal interests of their members.’
The fourth: ‘The name of the public association that is in the process of establishment (Public human rights association ‘Viasna’) is essentially equal to the name of the Human Rights Center ‘Viasna’ that was liquidated before, which is inadmissible…’ According to the Ministry of Justice, ‘part 6 of article 12 of the law On public associations states that the name must differ from the names of other public associations that have state registration in the Republic of Belarus or have been liquidated by court decision…’
The fifth: ‘According to part 6 of article 13 of the abovementioned law together with other documents the Ministry of Justice must received a bank document confirming the payment of the state fee. According to the existing instructions, the receipt must have the name of the association on it. ‘Among the documents that were submitted to the Ministry of Justice is a receipt about payment of the registration fee, not the state fee… The purpose of the payment is not specified on it.’ That’s why ‘this receipt cannot be considered as a bank document confirming the payment of the state fee.’
On the basis of the abovementioned by the ruling of the Ministry of Justice on 23 August 2007 it the public human rights association ‘Viasna’ was refused registration.
In fact, there is only one main reason for the registration refusal. One of the co-founders of the public human rights association ‘Viasna’, vice-president of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) Ales Bialiatski, says: ‘The country which violates human rights and legal norms at mass scale seems to have no need in human rights activists’.