Organization that deals with prevention of HIV/AIDS deprived of legal address
The public association
"Vstrecha" has to vacate its office in Uralski Passage,
The problem has not been resolved due to the fact that the premises which are lent in Minsk either have a high cost of rent (more than 13 Euros per 1 square meter) or are quite large (over 25 square meters).
As far as the office was rented from the funds of the Global Fund, the main recipient of funds which is the UNDP, the criteria for the office coordinates the UNDP.
Despite the daily views of various Internet sites, newspaper ads, signs on the houses, the administration of "Vstrecha" didn't manage to find a place which would meet the criteria.
In addition, "Vstrecha" twice sent letters to the Main Economic Board of the Presidential Administration to reconsider the decision to terminate the rent agreement. The head of teh organization, Aleh Yaromin, met with the head of the Board of the Buildings of State Property Aliaksandr Prylisch asked to keep the rental space for the NGO at the commercial price, since on 8 May 2013 "Vstrecha" and a number of other organizations were deprived of benefits for rent and signed an additional agreement. However, the organization received two refusals. In a private talk Prylishch also confirmed that the reason was the "legal wish to stop contractual relationship with "Vstrecha"".
The NGO applied to the Ministry of Health Care for support, but there is still no information about any relevant actions on its part. It is only known that the Deputy Minister had a telephone conversation with an officer of the Main Economic Board and was told that the reason for the eviction was the liquidation of the rental benefits and nothing else.
On 29 May all equpment and assets were taken out of the office. The NGO filed a statement to the tax office that it was looking for premises to register its legal address. According to the legislation, the organization can be liquidated provided it doesn't register a new legal address within two months.
Commenting on the situation, the Head of "Vstrecha" Aleh Yaromin said: "Our organization is unique, the only one in the country which provides access to services for the prevention of HIV infection. "Vstrecha" is not engaged in political activity and has always worked in partnership with the government in combating HIV/AIDS in the Republic of Belarus. Over the years, we have conducted research and participated in epidemic surveillance, organized HIV tests performed outreach work and counseling, but the opportunity to continue this important work is under threat."
"Vstrecha" has operated in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention since 1998. Its directions of work include the organization of anonymous diagnosis for HIV/AIDS and STIs; outreach-counseling, psychological counseling, telephone counseling hotlines behavioral research. The prophylactical activities of "Vstrecha" covered 10,811 people during the last two years.