Ministry of Taxation insists on closing down Belarusian Helsinki Committee
The latest registered human rights organization in Belarus is on the verge of closing down.
The Ministry of Taxation of Belarus applied to the Ministry of Justice asking to liquidate the Belarusian Helsinki Committee (BHC). The BHC chairman, Aleh Hulak, learned it from the Ministry of Justice. The BCH has received two warnings from the Ministry of Justice during the year. The ministry has the right to demand through court suspending activity or closing the organization.
The organization holds correspondence with the Ministry of Justice on the issue.
The BHC got the first warning on January 12 for “violating legislation on NGOs, media and spreading wrongful information”. The second warning was issued for “ongoing violations of taxation legislation”.
The BHC appealed against both warning to the Supreme Court, but none of the appeals was satisfied. The committee was obliged to pay over 240mn rubles of unpaid tax and penalty for the grants of the European Commission received in 2002-2003 (the grants were given to the organization on tax-exempt basis in compliance with international agreements).
The Belarusian Helsinki Committee is the only officially registered organization on the republican level. The committee monitors election campaigns in the country, gives expert opinion on the most high-profile cases and renders legal assistance in 11 Belarusian cities.