Uladzimir Labkovich: ‘It is obvious that non-registration of ‘Nasha Viasna’ is a political decision’
Today on our own initiative we have received a copy of the decision of the Ministry of Justice concerning the registration denial to us (we could not receive it by mail as quickly as that, because it is dated 2 March). Bear in mind that the answer was taken after the expiry of the legally established term for giving such answers. The document includes more than ten points for which we, human rights activists, were refused in the state registration of the civil association. Most of these points are completely wire-drawn and are not confirmed by the documents that were passed to the Ministry of Justice for registration. Besides, the refusal does not contain any references to the legal acts that have been violated by us. By the way, if we keep to the law, there are no sufficient reasons for non-registration among the pretensions of the Ministry of Justice, and we will speak about it at the Supreme Court.
One of the reasons for our non-registration (I’d like to draw your attention to it) is that a number of founders of the civil human rights organization Nasha Viasna have received administrative punishments. It is not the first case when such a reason for registration denial is mentioned. It happened for the first time in 2007, and witnesses that the authorities, who are in this case represented by the Ministry of Justice, confess that there is a list of persons (and this list is presented in its decision), who are (despite the references to the law) groundlessly deprived of the right to establish an organization and be engaged in civil activities. It is a direct violation of the internationally recognized right to association.
Another reason for non-registration, according to the decision of the Ministry of Justice, is that one of the founders is charged under Article 130 of the Criminal Code ‘Fomentation of national and religious enmity’. Vitsebsk human rights activist Leanid Svetsik really was a suspect in a criminal case, but the case was suspended. Meanwhile, we have also many times stated that this case was politically motivated and therefore welcomed its suspension. At present there are no investigative measures on this case and we hope that it will be dropped at all. However, the Ministry of Justice has a priory found Leanid Svetsik guilty and, moreover, considers it as one of the reasons to refuse us in registration of the organization.
It is obvious that it is a solely political decision. Numerous international organizations urged the authorities to grant registration to us. There is a call for registration of ‘Nasha Viasna’ in the resolution of the European Parliament. The fact that it was Mr. Kharyton (a person the entrance ban to the EU for whom was suspended literally half a year ago) was put in charge of the registration of ‘Nasha Viasna’, which he hasn’t registered again – witnesses that the authorities deliberately and cynically show to the Belarusian society and the international community that they are not gong to implement and existing demands and are going to demonstratively continue violating civil rights in Belarus. That’s why I really hope that the international community will pay enough attention to this demonstrative step and the international institutions will make the appropriate conclusions about the sincerity of the Belarusian authorities in their statements about the wish to implement of the international undertakings in the field of human rights.