Salihorsk authorities beat a retreat: signatures can be collected in more places
Following the hard criticism of the local human rights defenders the Salihorsk District Executive Committee introduced changes to its previous ruling that determined the places where it was banned to hold electoral pickets.
Bear in mind that on 23 September the Salihorsk District Executive Committee banned collecting signatures in support of potential candidates for the presidential position at the 50-meter distance from the buildings of the local executive, representative and regulatory organs, courts, procuracies, the territories of the organizations that that are responsible for the defense, the state security and life conditions of the population, including the enterprises of the public transport, water, heating and energy supplies, hospitals, polyclinics, kindergartens, educational and sportive establishments. The ban list also included the central squares of Salihorsk, Starobin and Chyrvonaya Slabada.
The local human rights defender Leanid Markhotka criticized this ruling, as according to it the collecting of signatures was banned in almost a half of the territory of Salihorsk. The information was uploaded to the websites of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, The Human Rights Center Viasna and the regional website salihorsk.org.
As a result, on 1 October the authorities corrected their ruling. In particular, they removed the ban on picketing within the 50-meter area of enterprises of the public transport, water, heating and energy supplies, hospitals, polyclinics, kindergartens, educational and sportive establishments and the central squares of Salihorsk, Starobin and Chyrvonaya Slabada.
’Of course this is a step in the right direction. This decision considerably restores the rights of voters and potential candidates. I only hope that the future dialogue between local authorities and human rights defenders will be held in reality, not by means of putting critical information on the web. In any case, I can assure you that we will very carefully monitor all actions of the authorities and the teams of candidates during this electoral process,’ commented Mr. Markhotka.
Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections