Civil society activists had a meeting with Belarusian MPs
On 7 August the head of the Center for
Legal Transformation Alena Tankachova and the lawyer of the Assembly
of Democratic NGOs of Belarus Yuru Chavusau met with representatives
of the Regular Commission of the Chamber of Representatives for Human
Rights, National Relations and Mass Media. The Parliament was
represented by MP Valery Kokash and a representative of the
secretariat of the Chamber of Representatives.
During the meeting, the sides discussed issues of preparation for the second reading of the draft law "On amendments and additions to certain laws on political parties and other public associations", which was adopted in the first reading on 30 May 2013. As expected, the second reading of the bill will take place during the autumn session of the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, the Parliament has not shown interest in holding the parliamentary hearings on improvement of the legislation on public associations prior to the second reading of the law. However, Mr. Kokash stated that the Parliament was open to specific comments and suggestions on the text of the bill. For their part, representatives of civil society expressed their intention to present such additional comments and suggestions and invited members of the parliamentary commission to the public hearings on the bill, which they intend to hold in the beginning of October.
During the meeting, a special attention was paid to the implementation by the Republic of Belarus of its human rights obligations under the Universal Periodic Review of the UN. The civil society representatives noted the need for an invitation to Belarus of special rapporteurs and other mandate holders of the UN and ratification of international human rights conventions and their optional protocols.
The MP also informed Alena Tankachova and Yury Chavusau that the Regular Commission of the Chamber of Representatives on National Security was put in charge of the drafting of the Law “On Alternative Civilian Service”.
At the end of the meeting, the civil society representatives expressed the wish that the consultations of the Commission on Human Rights with the public be held on a regular basis without being confined to consideration of written proposals and reception of visitors. In particular, regular counsels of the commission with interested representatives of the civil society could become a good platform for dialogue .