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BHC representatives not allowed to attend electoral meetings in Viciebsk

2015 2015-07-20T18:37:00+0300 2015-07-20T18:37:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Human rights defenders Leanid Svetski and Pavel Levinau will not be allowed to attend the meetings that are expected to form election commissions in Viciebsk. The BHC observers were told that "monitoring meetings is not permitted by law."

"Our application says that the BHC is involved in election observation, and therefore the public organization asks to allow me to attend the meeting of the Presidium of the Viciebsk City Council of Deputies and the Viciebsk City Executive Committee, which will form the election commissions of Čyhunačnay, Kastryčnicki and Pieršamajski districts. But a representative of the executive committee phoned to say that I would not be allowed to attend the meeting,” says Leanid Svetsik.

Viciebsk officials do not specify which law prohibits the presence of representatives of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee at a meeting on the formation of commissions. Meanwhile, the official website of the Polack District Executive Committee warns that "the Electoral Code of the Republic of Belarus does not provide for observers’ delegation to a joint session of the authorities."

Indeed, the Electoral Code does not provided for the option, but the Law "On local government and self-government" allows representatives of political parties, public organizations and even ordinary citizens to attend meetings of executive and administrative authorities.

Nevertheless, another BHC observer, Pavel Levinau, on similar grounds has not been allowed to attend a meeting of the Viciebsk Regional Council of Deputies and the Viciebsk regional executive committee. He also directed the BHC. Meanwhile, the human rights defender had every reason to attend the meeting, as he strives to be among the members of the Regional Election Commission, having collected the required number of signatures.

"I will go to the meeting anyway, but they warned me that it is prohibited to record the procedures, as well as to use a mobile phone. What a strange step in the 21th century! I’ll take a pen, a notebook to write the old-fashioned way. By the way, this is the first time I face a ban on using technical devices. I also wonder if the ban applies to all those present or just me personally,” says Pavel Levainau.

The meetings on the formation of election commissions in Viciebsk region will take place tomorrow, July 21.

"Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections"

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