Swedish Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights issues statement on Nasha Viasna registration
Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus
Minister of Justice, Viktor Golovanov
220004, st. Kolektornaya, 10,
Statement on Nasha Viasna registration
Stockholm, Sweden, February 12th 2009
Dear Mr. Golovanov,
We turn to you out of a concern regarding the registration of the human rights organization Nasha Viasna, who we think might have difficulties being recognized by the state as an officially authorized Belarusian association.
In January 2003 the Supreme Court of Belarus decided to liquidate the human rights center Viasna. Referring to the Belarusian constitution and international human rights agreements, we consider this decision as a violation of freedom of association. On January 26th 2009 Nasha Viasna applied for registration to the Ministry of Justice of Belarus.
On June 24th 2007 the UN Human Rights Committee adopted a resolution, stating that by closing down Viasna the Belarusian authorities violated Article 22-1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In its resolution the UNHCC confirmed Viasna’s right to adequate means of legal protection, including re-registration and compensation. It also obliged the Belarusian government to take precautions against similar violations in future.
Guided by the committee’s decision, members of the human rights center Viasna declared that the official registration of the organization would be an adequate compensation for the rights violated by the authorities. In August 2007 they applied to re-register Viasna as an official human rights association. However, the Belarusian government did not consider the recommendation of the UNHCC as essential and thus the Ministry of Justice and later the Supreme Court of Belarus denied the request to found an association due to irreproducible reasons.
According to UNHCC’s decision, we support the founders of the human rights association Nasha Viasna in their new attempt to obtain state registration from the Ministry of Justice. We expect the Belarusian authorities to maintain the constitutional rights of Belarusian citizens, as well as its international commitments in the field of human rights. Within the framework of the new EU Belarus politics we consider an authorization of Nasha Viasna as an approach for further cooperation which constantly gains importance in Europe.
With kind regards,
The Swedish Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights