Baranavichy court denies Ukrainian minority’s right to premises
On October 24, the Court of Baranavichy district and the city of Baranavichy continued to hear a complaint against the executive committee filed by local civil society activist Mikalai Charnavus. According to the activist, it is the local officials who refused to provide one of the vacant premises for a public association of the Ukrainian minority “Kobzar”.
However, Mikalai Charnavus failed to receive a room for his NGO, as Judge Mikalai Selmanovich dismissed his complaint, saying that the city authorities acted in accordance with the law.
Mikalai Charnavus argued that the official website of the Baranavichy city executive committee featured information about available rooms, so he repeatedly addressed the executive committee with a request to get a room for the "Kobzar" NGO. However, all his attempts remained unanswered. That is why the activist insisted that the court ordered the city officials to allocate one of the vacant premises for the NGO in order to register it with the Regional Department of Justice.
Head of the executive committee’s legal service Aleh Yauseyeu said that the organization "Kobzar" was not on the list of organizations that were eligible for a free property. Therefore, it was necessary to participate in an auction in order to buy an office.
“I was not allowed to register the NGO "Kobzar" in my own home. Then the city authorities gave us a room in Savetskaya Street, but quickly took it back to prevent the registration of our organization with the Department of Justice of the Brest Regional Executive Committee. Well, if we now receive a room from an entrepreneur, then in a few days, he will be "suddenly" visited by tax office inspectors. I think that the city officials are creating artificial obstacles to have a "legitimate" reason for non-registration of the Baranavichy Ukrainian minority public association "Kobzar", just like many other non-governmental Belarusian cultural and educational organizations,” says Mikalai Charnavus.