Statement by the Committee of the International Control of the human rights situation in Belarus
Statement number 9 “on the persecution of human rights in Belarus under the pretext of combating tax violations”
Acting on behalf of the Committee of international control over the human rights situation in Belarus (CIC), which brings together representatives of the OSCE human rights organizations and international civil organizations and networks;
monitoring the overall situation with the observance of fundamental human rights in Belarus, including issues of freedom of association and compliance with the conditions for the unhindered activities of human rights defenders;
Emphasizing that human rights are the subject of direct and legitimate concern of international civil society;
urging the Belarusian authorities to follow the undertaken international obligations on human rights, in particular, to guarantee freedom of establishment and non-governmental organizations, including the ability to legally obtain their financing to carry out their statutory activities;
Expressing its solidarity with the civil and human rights organizations in Belarus, for many months continued to operate under constant pressure from the authorities.
International monitoring mission:
1. Expresses grave concern at the arrest of August 4, 2011 Head of the Human Rights Centre “Viasna”, vice-president of the International Federation of Human Rights Ales Bialiatski and excitement for a criminal case under part 2, Art. 243 of the Criminal Code of Belarus (tax evasion that has caused damage on a large scale), as well as the preceding procedural violations during the search, detention and interrogation;
believes that these allegations clearly related exclusively to human rights work of Ales Bialiatski and he heads the Centre, particularly on election monitoring and the provision of legal and material assistance to their families and themselves convicted in cases related to the events of December 19, 2010, and recent shares “silent protest”, considering the allegations in the context of previous attempts to obstruct the activities of the Human Rights Centre “Viasna”, since its liquidation by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus in 2003, searches and confiscation of equipment belonging to him after December 19, 2010 and ending rendered Ales Bialiatski in February 2011 warning of “non-implementation activities on behalf of an unregistered organization”
regards the allegations as baseless, as obtained Byalatski funds were not his personal income, as listed in his account to support Belarusian civil society and ensuring human rights protection in accordance with the contracts and donations are spent on these purposes.
2. Notes that this situation has been made possible only because of the mismatch to recognized international standards of the Belarusian legislation on freedom of association, which does not allow non-governmental organizations to acquire registration in accordance with a reasonable, transparent and simple procedure, provides a procedure for their elimination on the grounds of unlawful, irrational installs taxation; impedes their financial support from international institutions and making any legitimate civil and human rights initiatives hostage to the imperfections of the system of the above rules.
3. Believes that the responsibility for what has happened and others are also participating States that have not achieved from the Republic of Belarus to bring its national legislation into line with international standards on freedom of association, and instead preferred to use ways to support Belarusian civil society in the circumvention of national legislation, thus putting at risk the personal liberty and security of Belarusian human rights defenders and civil society activists;
notes with deep regret that the Belarusian human rights activist arrested directly contributed to inconsistent and short-sighted attitude of the authorities of the Republic who did not appreciate the risks to personal liberty and security of Ales Bialiatski of the Belarusian authorities to transfer information on bank accounts opened in Lithuania for the human rights activities of the Belarusian civil organizations and initiatives.
4. Draws attention to the fact that under a similar threat may be other representatives of the Belarusian human rights and civic organizations, many of which under the circumstances, could be forced to find ways to ensure their activities outside the jurisdiction of the Republic of Belarus;
5. Also concerned about the continuing pressure on human rights carried out in other ways – in particular, repeated warnings from the Ministry of Justice to address RPOO “Belarusian Helsinki Committee.”
In connection with the above international observation mission demands:
1. Ales Bialiatski liberation from custody and termination of criminal proceedings against him in connection with his actions in the absence of a crime;
2. Stop the pressure on human rights and civic organizations, in particular, the Human Rights Centre “Viasna” and RPOO “Belarusian Helsinki Committee”, their staff and activists;
3. Bring the national legislation of the Republic of Belarus in conformity with international standards on freedom of association, in amending the legislation guided by the recommendations of intergovernmental organizations (including by requesting a formal examination of the European Commission for Democracy through Law), and consider the opinions of national and international experts;
4. Announcement to review the legislation of a moratorium on investigations and prosecutions in respect of civil and human rights organizations including Human Rights Centre “Viasna” and RPOO “Belarusian Helsinki Committee”, their staff and activists;
5. Acceptance by the authorities of the Republic of measures to minimize damage to its transmission by the Ministry of Justice law enforcement agencies of Belarus information on bank accounts of Belarusian civil society activists, for example, by providing them should the need arise in the face of skilled advocates of Lithuanian lawyers, as well as allocating funds for the payment of possible penalties ;
6. To prevent similar actions in the transfer of information on human rights defenders and human rights organizations, the Belarusian authorities from other states – participants of the OSCE;
7. Inclusion of the human rights situation and the rule of law in Belarus on the agenda of all planned in the near future formal meetings and activities of intergovernmental organizations (UN, OSCE and Council of Europe), including at the highest level (UN General Assembly, the Ministerial OSCE conference).
Head of the Mission
August 8, 2011
Posted on 04/09/2011, in Без рубрики and tagged Belarus, Bialiatski, Committee of the International Control over the situation with Human Rights in Republic of Belarus, Human Rights, Viasna. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.