Will Justice Ministry register ‘Nasha Viasna’?
The Ministry of Justice is sending letters to the founders of Nasha Viasna (Our Spring) NGO. Judging by the its preceding practice in registration of NGOs, such actions seem to be aimed at finding some inaccuracies concerning the constituent assembly that was held by the initiators of the establishment of the NGO.
In particular, according to the information of RFE/RL, Brest human rights activist Uladzimir Malei received such a letter and is indignant that it was sent to an invalid address. ‘Only thanks to my personal acquaintance with the workers of the post office the letter was not lost. Otherwise the Ministry of Justice could use it as a reason for stopping the registration process,’ Mr. Malei said.
The letters of the Ministry of Justice contain questions concerning the place of the date of the constituent assembly, the signing of any documents by the addressees, the number of the people who were present at the constituent assembly, whether the addressees considered themselves the founders of the NGO, etc.
Bear in mind that the constituent assembly was held on 18 January 2008 by about 70 human rights activists from different parts of Belarus. The assembly was registered by the appropriate documents, which were passed to the Ministry of Justice.
Human rights activists believe that these letters are aimed at finding some formal reasons for registration denial to Nasha Viasna, the more that Alexander Kharyton, an official who was involved in mass liquidation of NGOs in Belarus and is a persona non-grata on the EU territory, is responsible for preparation of the registration documents of the NGO.
Meanwhile, the human rights activists who have applied for registration of Nasha Viasna, still feel the close attention while crossing the Belarusian border. Since the beginning of 2008, Ales Bialiatski, Uladzimir Labkovich, Tatsiana Reviaka, Viktar Sazonau and Valiantsin Stefanovich have had to declare their property and undergo obligatory searches on the border. After a short break in January, this practice has been renewed after the documents for registration of the NGO were passed to the authorities.