"New Legislation on Non-Governmental Organizations: Experience of Influence on Political Decisions in Belarus" Conference Took Place in Minsk on 22 October
The conference was dedicated to the results of a regular stage of the campaign to promote the interests of public associations in 2004-2005. The conference brought together non-governmental organizations that had taken part in the "Our Solidarity" campaign. The conference participants familiarized themselves with the results of the appeal to the Deputies of the Chamber of Representatives of the Third Convocation with the previously discussed and agreed proposals for changes in the NGO legislation. These appeals were sent to all deputies of the lower chamber of the Parliament and concerned the position of the public sector with respect to the Law "On Public Associations", the new version of which was considered by the Parliament in spring this year.
All members of Parliament were informed of the NGO's needs in the sphere of the legal regulation of the "third sector", of the European standards in this field, of the current ungrounded limitations in the Belarusian legislation that prevent the unimpeded development of public activity. Several deputies then expressed their positive attitude to the proposals of the public activists and declared their intention to initiate consideration of these proposals in the course of their lawmaking activity. However, this intention was not translated into practicalities: the new version of the Law "On Public Associations" proposed by the government was adopted as a matter that required urgent action and in violation of the traditional parliamentary rules. The deputies, in fact, shirked lawmaking functions in this bill and adopted it without consideration.
Thus, an attempt to lobby NGO interests through public pressure on the lawmakers met with a zero result. Though voters approached their deputies with requirements, the deputies did not pay attention to these proposals and neglected their deputy obligations. Because of this, the conference participants, after considering the results of the recent radical reform of the law on public associations, stated the virtual uselessness of this line of legal activity. A proposal to close the "Our Solidarity" campaign with a public veto of non-confidence in the current Parliament was voiced.
The ideas put forward at the conference will be brought to the attention of the Working Group of the NGO Assembly of Belarus that is to confirm a program of closing actions within the "Our Solidarity" campaign, reported the Assembly's press service.