Review on freedom of association and legal status of NGOs in Belarus in 2012

The Legal Transformation Center and Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs of Belarus represent the annual review “Freedom of association and legal status of non-commercial organizations in Belarus in 2012”. It contains the most important trends and developments related to the legal conditions of the third sector.

This year, the authors of the review noted that the opportunities to exercise the freedom of association in 2012 in Belarus did not broaden. At the level of legal regulation there haven’t been fixed any significant changes, which would worsen or improve the position of non-commercial organizations. However, further reformation of the legislation on public associations is planned for 2013.

Particular attention is paid to the draft law on alteration of the law of the Republic of Belarus “On public associations”. It doesn’t change the essence of the registration procedure on the basis of authorization-based principle, which gives a possibility for arbitrary refusal of registration.

The practice of arbitrary refusals to register public associations has continued, as well as the practice of endorsing institution designations. Other obstacles in NCO activity include: deprivation of accommodation for holding events or of offices, restrictions in attraction of financing. However, the norms of criminal responsibility for the breach of order of attracting free foreign aid, introduced in the legislation at the end of 2011, haven’t been used.

The main points of the document will be submitted to the UN in the form of the assessment of Belarus’ implementation of the recommendations made to it in 2010 during the UN Universal Periodic Review. Belarus was recommended to decriminalize the activities of unregistered organizations and to take other measures in order to improve the legal environment for non-governmental organizations. The next UPR round for Belarus will take place in May 2015.

See the full text of the review Freedom of association and legal status of non-commercial organizations in Belarus in 2012

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