2009 08/12
Леанід Судаленка, Гомель

Leanid Sudalenka, Homel

Human rights defenders Leanid Sudalenka and Anatol Paplauny received prohibition of organizing a peaceful meeting dedicated to International Human Rights Day. Town officials considered that the activists didn’t pay for militia, medical and sanitary services. Moreover, the relation expression of observing international obligations by our country was planned to take place in the town centre, but the authorities gave an open place in front of cultural centre “Vipra” for these purposes.

Leanid Sudalenka, the head of HTD RPA “Legal initiative” comments on the situation:

- In the whole world the people’s right for peaceful meetings is not absolute and must necessarily be regulated by Law restrictions and they must be essential goals of Constitution’s article 23. In particular, limitation of people’s rights and freedoms can occur for the benefits of national security and public peace interests, for defense of morality, people’s health, rights and freedoms of other people.

- The decision of executive committee which established order of carrying out peaceful meetings in Homiel, in its part where the only place for such events in a half-million citizenry town and execution of contracts on a paid basis with law enforcement bodies, medical and cleaning services are described, contradicts not only constitutional guarantees of freedom of peaceful events but also international obligations of our country.

- How can anybody carry out a demonstration on Homiel “Bangalor” (the ground in front of CC “Vipra”) if firstly it supposes movement of a group of people on a streetway for drawing attention to some problems? And what about street procession? It’s surprising that the decision of executive committee was registered in the national registry of legal acts. It means that the phrase “if you want to have your own opinion you should pay” got a power of law.

- In connection with this I shall state that if a state places restrictions upon realization of the right for peaceful events, these restrictions should not put the principal of this right at threat. If a state places such restrictions, it must prove that they are “necessary” for achieving one of these goals.

- In consequence of the decision mentioned, the last five years the representatives of democratic society were not allowed to carry out any of more than one hundred peaceful events appealed in Homiel. And vice versa – under the initiative of authorities, mass events are carried out systematically in the central parts of the town and militia, medical and sanitary cleaning services carry out their duties free of charge.

- The situation is worsened by the fact that if you carry out a peaceful meeting without permission of authorities you be drawn to administrative responsibility. Organizers of a peaceful event can be greatly penalized (up to 1,750.000 BYR) or get under administrative arrest up to 15 days. During the last two years in Homiel regional court activists were drawn to different administrative sanctions for attempts to carry out peaceful meetings without getting official permission more than 40 times.

- I think that town authorities endanger the principal of the right for carrying out peaceful meetings. And in my particular case the right for carrying out free peaceful meeting is surely violated. We plan to prove it even in the Human Rights Committee of UNO if needed. The officials didn’t leave us a choice. We’ll start a strategic lawsuit directed not only to abandon the decision of town authorities but also to change the Law about mass events in our country.

P.S. In 2008-2009 in Homiel region public and political activists were drawn to administrative penalizing for violating order of mass events about 40 times in the amount of more than 25 million rubles. And altogether activists spent more than 100 days of administrative arrest.

Quoting business distribution,
Prepared by Ales LETA,
Belarusian LEGAL PORTAL,
by.prava-by.info

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