Parliament overlooks proposals by NGOs
The Legal Transformation Center (Lawtrend) sent to the Parliament’s Commission on Human Rights a set of proposals for changes in the law on public associations. However, the working group deemed it inappropriate to consider the opinions of NGOs.
We cite some proposals by Lawtrend contained in the letter to legislators:
1. Settling of issues relating to the creation and registration of local offices of international NGOs established in the territory of foreign states.
Currently, the problem point of the bill remains that it still fails to provide a complete idea of the process of setting up a branch of the public association founded in a foreign country, which does not ensure a uniform treatment of the process by the registration authority and the founders.
In this regard, the presence in the Law “On Public Associations” of a provision on establishing local offices of “international public associations established in the territory of a foreign state” makes it impossible to create offices of associations belonging to the countries whose legislation does not possess the concept of “international public association”.
Lawtrend’s proposal: replace the wording “branch of an international public association established in a foreign country” with the “branch of a non-profit organization established in a foreign country” or “branch of a non-profit organization founded on the principle of membership, established on the territory of a foreign state.”
2. Amending requirements on the number of members of the founders of a public association.
The law in most European countries requires 2-3 persons to create a membership non-profit, e.g. in the Netherlands, France and Finland. The Basic Principles on the Status of NGOs in Europe provide that two or more persons have the right to establish an NGO on the principle of membership.
Lawtrend’s proposal: return to the version of the Law of the Republic of Belarus of 29 November 1999 and set the minimum number of founders for a public association at 10 persons. The NGO also suggests repelling a discriminatory provision saying that the number of founders for the establishment and operation of certain types of public associations may be established by special laws on the relevant types of public associations.
3. Simplifying the procedure of dissolution of public associations, and exclusion of their organizational structures from the register.
Another increase in the scope of grounds to enforce a decision on the dissolution of a public association and NGO unions is a negative provision.
Lawtrend’s proposal: reasons for refusal of registration of public associations should be reduced, not expanded.
4. Reducing the number of documents required for registration of the association.
5. Deleting from Art. 20 of the Law “On Public Associations” of a provision limiting the right of the public association to perform business activities only by creating commercial organizations or participating in them.
6. Regulating the procedure of inspection of public associations by the registering authority similar to commercial organizations.
In its response, the National Assembly noted that Lawtrend’s proposals on the bill were thoroughly considered at a meeting of a working group with the participation of representatives of several government agencies, and a number of recommendations were worked out. However, the working group decided against amending the draft law, setting aside the proposals of the Legal Transformation Center.