2010 12/05
Асамблея НДА Беларусі

NGO Assembly of Belarus

Today, April 12, in the Human Rights Council of UNO (Geneva) a discussion of the repressive article 193-1 took place. It was organized by the NGO Assembly of Belarus in cooperation with international Alliance CIVICUS and International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH).

The event coincides with the review of the report of the government of the Republic of Belarus about the situation of human rights in the country in the framework of Universal periodic review – a new mechanism of UNO for human rights defense.

About 40 people took part in this event. From the Belarusian side they were human rights defenders, lawyers and public activists who were fired through this notorious article before. Members of state representatives, delegations from friendly countries of the Human Rights Council (Netherlands, Hungary, Norway and others) and representatives of non-state and inter-state organizations were the participants and guests of the event.

Human rights defender Valiantsin Stefanovich from Human Rights Centre “Viasna” gives coverage to political and legal context of introducing article 193-1 to the Criminal Code as a part of “anti-revolutionary” changes in CC on the eve of presidential elections of 2006.

Volha Smalianka (Rights Technologies Centre) analyzed juridical content of the article and stated that it doesn’t correspond international law documents and generally accepted standards in the field of freedom of associations, in particular Common Declarations of Human Rights, International pact of public and political rights and norms of Council of Europe.

Enira Branitskaya who was imprisoned in 2006 on grounds of article 193-1 (“Partnership” case) described examples of using the article against public and political activists.

Lawyer of NGO Assembly Yury Chavusau told about confrontation of public to repressive legislation, and first about “Stop 193-1!” campaign which started last year by the NGO Assembly in Belarus.

Carrying out of this discussion is an example of how do Belarusian non-governmental organizations can use cooperation with international structures for asserting their common interests. Belarusian government didn’t succeed to make the problem of article 193-1 unnoted. Universal periodic review is a high level chance to announce about the most painful problems of disrespect of human rights in Belarus. Not only about prohibition of activity of unregistered unions and criminal prosecution of their members, but also execution of death penalties, disappearances of opponents to the ruling regime and groundless limitations of freedom of speech”, – Yury Chavusau, the lawyer of NGO Assembly commented on the results of the event.

Organizers hope that the facts mentioned will let people objectively appraise the actual state of the situation and influence the content of the resulting recommendations to the Republic of Belarus. It is known already that representatives of Czech, Netherlands, Sweden, Great Britain and other countries have paid their attention to the repressive article 193-1 in their questions to government’s delegation form Minsk.

Source: NGO Assembly of Belarus

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