Ministry of Justice denies registration to Nasha Viasna again
On 28 May the co-founders of the Nasha Viasna human rights association received a letter from the Ministry of Justice saying the NGO is once again denied registration. The human rights activists think the decision groundless and illegal.
The official letter signed by Vice-Minister of Justice A.Bodak named the following facts as the grounds for the refusal:
- ‘many of the co-founders of the association have been prosecuted by law, for offences connected with disturbing public order, as well the freedoms and rights of other persons.’
- ‘the list of the co-founders of the association features certain false or distorted data.’
- ‘the second part of the association’s name ‘Nasha Viasna’ does not correspond to the Charter of the organization.’
The Ministry of Justice also accuses Nasha Viasna of ‘obstructing’ the registration body’s inspection of the accuracy of the application documents.
‘This time the Ministry of Justice in its letter named the grounds, which we simply cannot comment upon, for we do not understand, what they mean. E.g. it is difficult to comment on the statement ‘the second part of the association’s name ‘Nasha Viasna’ does not correspond to the Charter of the organization.’ I can say that all the remarks made by the Ministry of Justice are not warranted by the law of the Republic of Belarus ‘On public associations’ and therefore cannot result in a refusal to register the association,’ says one of the co-founders of Nasha Viasna Valiantsin Stefanovich.
It should be especially stressed that it is the third time the Ministry of Justice mentions civil and criminal prosecution of the association’s co-founders as one of the grounds for the refusal.
‘The decision of 2007 mentioned this fact, so did the recent refusal – now it states the exactly same. Meanwhile, the court has twice rejected the fact as a legal reason for the refusal to register Nasha Viasna, since the law does not provide for the reasons. So why do they keep doing it? I think that there can be only one reason for that – discrediting human rights activists in the eyes of Belarusian citizens,’ says Mr.Stefanovich.
The human rights activists consider the refusal a politically-motivated decision.
‘It is obvious that all the grounds and circumstances, stated by the Ministry of Justice, are so cooked up. They are absolutely trivial and based on conjectures, as in the case with the organization’s name, which had never been mentioned before. It is absolutely obvious that the registration body makes its best to deprive such human rights organization as Nasha Viasna of its legal status within Belarus. So, it is a pure political business, a politically-motivated decision,’ says Nasha Viasna’s representative Uladzimir Labkovich.
The organization’s head Ales Bialiatski is of the same opinion, saying that refusals to register human rights NGOs are an evidence of the actual situation with human rights in the country.
‘The reasons for the refusal are absolutely unclear to me, since all the charges of the Ministry of Justice have nothing to do with reality and look like a badly-designed delirium. Considering such utmost formality following the decision, political motives seem absolutely transparent. The repeated refusals to register the human right association over the past three years are a sign of discrimination of the citizens of Belarus and restriction of their right to the freedom of association. The authorities’ unwillingness to register newly-founded human rights organizations means that the country is very far from improving the situation with democracy and human rights. Despite the refusal, we, human rights activists, are going to continue our activities’, says Ales Bialiatski.
The human rights activists are going to appeal the decision at the Supreme Court of Belarus. They will also submit a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee.