Human rights activists have a meeting with vice-Minister of Justice
The Minister of Justice accepts citizens only once a months, on the first Wednesday. On 4 February the Belarusian human rights activists, founders of the Nasha Viasna NGO Ales Bialiatski and Tatsiana Reviaka came to the Ministry of Justice to meet with the minister. However, the official was away and the audience was held by the vice-minister Alexander Simanau.
The conversation with Mr. Simanau concerned two issues: the registration of the Nasha Viasna NGO and the proposal for the ministry to hold a round-table on the issues of the third sector with participation of representatives of the democratic community of Belarus.
The human rights activists informed the official that the documents for registration of the NGO were passed to the Ministry of Justice on 26 January and expressed the hope for constructive cooperation with the responsible officials of the ministry during their check-up. It was also pointed that the majority of the founders of the new NGO are members of the Human Rights Center Viasna that was liquidated in 2003. The human rights activists reminded that the UN Human Rights Committee officially declared this liquidation unlawful and obliged the Belarusian authorities to return the legal status to the organization. This decision hasn’t been implemented by the Belarusian authorities. That’s why in the conversation with the vice-minister the human rights activists said that registration of the new NGO could serve as a compensation for liquidation of the old one, and reminded that the Ministry of Justice refused to register the organization in 2007.
The founders of the human rights association stated that registration denial will be considered as a sign of the non-readiness of the Belarusian authorities to system changes aimed at further liberalization in the country, first of all in the field of freedom of associations. They also reminded the official about the attention, paid to the registration process by the European Parliament, which was openly stated in its resolution in January 2009.
Ales Bialiatski asked Mr. Simanau to inform the minister about the proposal for holding a round-table for discussion of the problems of the third sector and reminded that the last such discussion with participation of Mr. Halavanau took place six years ago, in 2003.
Alexander Simanau listened to the human rights activists and promised to pass the essence of the talk to the minister. Time will show whether this visit of human rights activists to the Ministry of Justice will help in registration of Nasha Viasna and contribute to development of the dialogue between Belarus and Europe.