UN Human Rights Committee registers complaint by For Free Elections campaign
The UN Human Rights Committee has registered a complaint submitted by the For Free Elections campaign, a Belarusian NGO denied state registration by the Ministry of Justice back in mid 2011.
Siarhei Kaliakin, together with other founders of the campaign, argue that by denying registration the Belarusian authorities violated their right to freedom of association, and say that Belarus ignores its international obligations. The complaint also stresses that activities on behalf of an unregistered NGO are subject to criminal prosecution in Belarus.
Homel human rights defender Leanid Sudalenka, the NGO’s representatives in its appeal against the authorities, says the Committee is sure to establish the fact of violation of Art. 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
“The UN Human Rights Committee has repeatedly issued decisions on complaints by Belarusian citizens whose right to freedom of association was denied. The existence and activities of associations, including those who disseminate opinions by peaceful means but are not supported by the state, are a key component of a democratic society,” says the human rights defender.
The Committee has earlier admitted the violation of Belarusian citizens’ right to freedom of association in the cases of dissolution of a number of NGOs, including the Homel-based Civil Initiatives and the Human Rights Center “Viasna”.