BHC petitions Constitutional Court to address discrimination of Belarusian language
The Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the well-known lawyer and human rights defender Hary Pahaniayla sent a petition to the Constitutional Court to highlight the flaws of language-related legislation, which result in the discrimination of one of the official languages, Belarusian.
The letter was sent after the adoption of the new Law “On Constitutional Proceedings”, which entered into force on April 13, 2014.
The new law defines the basic principles of constitutional justice, harmonizes procedures for the consideration of certain categories of cases falling within the competence of the Constitutional Court, clarifies provisions on the quorum of the court, the rights of the parties and other participants in the trials, court documents, procedural terms, court costs and decisions.
Now the right to appeal to the Constitutional Court to commence proceedings is for the first time endowed to entities, which have not been mentioned in Part 4 of Article 116 of the Constitution, including public authorities, other organizations and citizens (their associations) and individual entrepreneurs (Part 1 of Art. 158 of the Act).
Taking advantage of this opportunity, the human rights defenders ask the Constitutional Court to address the uncertainty of the real status of the Belarusian language and encourage other civil society organizations and citizens to join the initiative.
The campaign has been supported by the Working Group of the Assembly of Democratic NGOs of Belarus.