Assaults on Civil Society

“Extremism” seeking commission to start operating on 27 September

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Information Ministry’s inter-departmental commission tasked with identifying extremism in information products will start operating on 27 September.

This was announced by the deputy Information Minister Uladzimir Matusevich on 3 September at a press-conference in Minsk, BelaPAN reports.

“It is not the matter of some out-of-court decisions, – the official emphasized. – The commission is created as a way to extend the law on countering extremism. Extremist materials will be recognized as such in court, while the commission will provide an expert report as to whether there are or are not signs of extremism in these or those materials”.

The creation of a special expert commission, which will be tasked with assessing whether the issued information products have an extremism component, w...

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New informational project on the topic of equal education

On the 1st of September Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities starts, in the framework of Accesibility campaign, a new informational project on the topic of equal education  The website is going to collect the stories of the families, children of which are attending integrated classes. The first story tells about the first in Belarus integrated class for children with autism.

- My son Ivan is 10 years old. He has such a type of autism that is called severe but at the same time he has a huge hidden potential. But in order for him to study special adapted to his demands conditions have to be created, special methods recognized all over the world should be used for socialization and teaching. It will give my son a possibility to show his talents and successfully adaptTatia...

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Freedom of associations in Belarus in 2014

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The NGO Assembly and Lawtrend published joint monitoring report on “Freedom of associations and status of non-commercial organizations in Belarus for the second quarter of 2014″.

Authors argue that legislative changes pertaining to registration of NGOs could have become the main factor of positive trends. Yet they conclude, that although the legislation was formally improved, the actual conditions for new organizations’ registration did not change substantially.

Monitoring includes the list of new registered organizations, among which sports non-profits are still the majority.

See the full text of this report (in Russian)

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Belarus violated right to peaceful assembly against UCP activist in Homel, says UN Human Rights Committee

The UN Human Rights Committee has said that the Belarusian authorities violated the right of the deputy chairman of the United Civil Party (UCP) Vasil Paliakou to peaceful assembly, by banning in September 2008 a mass event aimed to urge citizens not to take part in the parliamentary elections, which took place on September 28, 2008.

The UCP activist has received the decision dated July 17.

Vasil Paliakou submitted his complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee after he was unable to protect his rights within the country. In 2008, the Homel City Executive Committee did not allow him to hold a picket, demanding that he paid for police, public utilities and ambulance services.

In its decision, the UN Human Rights Committee says that if the government imposes a restriction on the freedom of ...

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Homel activists appeal ban on NGO registration

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On August 26, founders of the republican human rights association “Pakt” (“Covenan”), a movement for the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, submitted to the Supreme Court their appeal against the refusal of the Ministry of Justice to register the public association.

Accordingto the NGO’s executive director Leanid Sudalenka, the organization was created to protect the interests of citizens, in whose cases the UN Human Rights Committee rules to find violations of their civil and political rights by the state.

Refusing to grant state registration to the association, the Ministry of Justice referred to such inaccuracies in the documents as an error in the apartment number of one of the founders and the date of birth of another activist...

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Youth activist Pavel Vinahradau sentenced to 10 days of prison

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On August 23, the Court of Minsk’s Maskouski district considered an administrative case against activist of the Zmena opposition movement Pavel Vinahradau. He was sentenced to 10 days of jail for alleged hooliganism (Article 17.1 of the Administrative Code).

Earlier that day, the activist’s apartment was visited by police officers who demanded that he opened the door. This is how he described it in his Facebook account: “They want the door opened. And I do not want to. We agreed that in two hours I will go out myself. I’ll go with the things, of course. Farewell, dear FB! See you in a couple of weeks.”

After a while Pavel Vinahradau went downstairs, where he was detained by police and taken to the police department of Maskouski district...

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Report on discrimination and inequality in Belarus detained at border

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Report prepared by the Equal Rights Trust and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee has been detained at the border and is awaiting an examination by the Department of Smuggling. Meanwhile, human rights activists have received a letter from the Office of the President saying that the information contained in the report has been “taken into consideration”.

A joint report by the British and Belarusian human rights activists entitled “Half an Hour ahead of Spring: A Report on Discrimination and Inequality in Belarus” was printed in the UK and mailed in Belarus, but was detained by customs officials at the Minsk airport.

The BHC has received a certificate, which mentions no claims against the edition. However, the parcel has been submitted for examination to the Department of Smuggling...

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Leader of the association “Alternative” sentenced to ten days of arrest

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Aleh Korban, the leader of the public association “Alternative”, has been sentenced to ten days of arrest by the Frunzenski District Court of Minsk.

According to human rights activists, he was detained at 10 a.m. on August 12 near the metro station “Kamennaya Horka”. At the Frunzenski District Police Department he was charged under Article 17.1, “disorderly conduct”.

As stated by the “Alternative” activist Illia Dabratvor, released today after serving 14-day arrest, Aleh Korban was to have met him. However, when he didn’t come to the detention center, the activist understood that something was wrong. Mr. Dabratvor believes that the recent wave of arrests of “Alternative” activists is a deliberate harassment of the activists for the campaign “For independent Belarus”.

Bear ...

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Picket in support of political prisoners banned in Brest

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Unlike other cities of Belarus, this action was scheduled fir 10 August, but the Brest City Executive Committee refused to authorize it, referring to the celebration of the Day of the builder.

According to human rights activist Uladzimir Vialichkin who has applied for the picket to the executive committee, he intended to hold the picket on the playground in the park of soldiers-internationalists, which was officially designated by the local authorities as a place for public events.

However, the authorities didn’t allow the picket, as at the specified time the playground would be allegedly used by “another event”. As it was found, the holding of the picket was impeded by festivities on the Day of the builder...

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Belarusian justice ministry denies registration for new human rights organisation

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The Belarusian justice ministry has denied state registration for a new human rights organisation called the Movement for the Implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, or Pakt (Covenant).

The founders of the organisation filed a registration application and the required package of documents on June 27.

Mikhail Pastukhow, a former judge of the Constitutional Court, was elected chairman of the organisation at its founding conference held in Minsk on June 7.

Human rights defenders Viktar Karniyenka and Uladzimir Katsora were elected deputy chairmen, while Leanid Sudalenka was elected executive director.

The justice ministry denied registration under ridiculous pretexts, Dr. Pastukhow told BelaPAN...

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