Human Rights Organisation Denied Registration for the Third Time

The Belarusian human rights organisation Nasja Viasna was on Thursday once again denied registration by the authorities. It is the third time in slightly less than two years that the foremost human rights defenders in Belarus are denied the right to work legally. The reasons for the denial are as absurd as previously. One example is that the second part of the name of the human rights organisation ‘Nasja Viasna’ (Our Spring) is not in accordance with the statutes.

The real reason is our activity. They consider us dangerous for them, although we devote ourselves to activities that are completely legal in a normal country – defence of human rights. But exactly this is the main reason not to register us for the third time! And that is exactly why they closed our organisation in 2003, says Valiantsin Stefanovitj, vice chairman of the illegal human rights organisation Viasna, who have been trying to register the new organisation Nasja.

The Swedish Helsinki Committee supports Viasna’s analysis and do not consider the reasons put forth by the Ministry of Justice trustworthy. Viasna is the foremost human rights organisation in the country but has been forced to work illegally since the authorities revoked the organisation’s registration in 2003 arguing that the organisation had made itself guilty of violations during the presidential election two years earlier. The UN human rights committee has established that the closing of Viasna is illegal and that the organisation is entitled to compensation and re-registration. In 2007 Viasna once again applied for registration but was denied.

In January 2009 a new attempt was made. The activists hoped that Belarus would show the EU that they are taking steps towards democracy after the union in October 2008 temporarily lifted the travel ban for dictator Aljaksandr Lukasjenka and 35 other Belarusian politicians and officials. Unfortunately the answer was negative this time as well. The EU has afterwards prolonged the possibility for the Belarusian representatives to travel to the union.

With Viasna’s last application Belarus once again got a chance to show their will to democratise, but also this time the Belarusian authorities failed.

Categories: News.
Tags: Freedom of association, UN Human Rights Committee, Valiantsin Stefanovich, and Viasna.
Regions: Belarus.