Statement of the representatives of civil ociety organizations in Belarus on the threat of significant limitations on Human Rights in legislation

We, the representatives of civil society organizations in Belarus, believe that legislative acts that are now being considered and adopted by the Parliament of the Republic of Belarus, have a clearly anti-legal nature, are aimed at the excessive restriction of the rights and freedoms of citizens, impede normal social dialogue and incite confrontation in Belarus.

1. Draft Law of the Republic of Belarus On Introducing Amendments and Additions to the Law of the Republic of Belarus On mass events in the Republic of Belarus was the subject of justified criticism from the public, but was adopted on 3 October this year by the House of Representatives in two readings at once in the form, which violates the rights of citizens to peaceful assembly, guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, as well as by the basic norms of international law, introduces administrative responsibility of the citizens for innocent acts and omissions.

2. Draft Law of the Republic of Belarus On Introducing Amendments and Additions to Some Laws of the Republic of Belarus has been developed, submitted to the Parliament and adopted on 3 October this year by the House of Representatives in two readings, without public discussion. This law creates new grounds for prosecution of civil society activists and participants of peaceful mass actions, violates freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of association.

3. Alarm and indignation awakes draft Law of the Republic of Belarus On Introducing Amendments and Additions to the Law of the Republic of Belarus On State Security Bodies of the Republic of Belarus submitted to the Parliament. This act significantly expands the powers of state security service, makes them uncontrollable and actually puts them above the law.

We, the representatives of civil society organizations in Belarus, believe that these drafts of legislative acts are contrary to international legal obligations of the Republic of Belarus in the field of human rights, are unconstitutional and politically harmful to the country.

As it became known, the Council of Ministers initiated amendments to the Laws On Political Parties, On Public Associations, into the Criminal Code and the Administrative Offence Code already in June this year. The absence of public debate on these crucial acts, as well as their adoption in a non-transparent and non-public order is further evidence of non-legal nature of these amendments, adoption of which was not caused by objective requirements of social life.

We also believe that the adoption of these documents is aimed at intimidating the Belarusian society, which threatens the country's return to the path of normal development and drives her into a state of self-isolation. The adoption of such repressive legislation shall mean the legalization of violent methods of struggle against political opponents, create a climate of fear and encourage society to radicalism, as well as make it impossible to achieve a constructive public dialogue. The initiators of adoption of these drafts, as well as their developers, the deputies of the Chamber of Representatives and members of the Council of the Republic shall be responsible for the consequences of such ill-considered legislative activity.

Based on the foregoing, guided by the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, according to the standards of Article 59 of the Constitution, under which the State shall take all measures at its disposal to establish the domestic and international order necessary for the full exercise of the rights and freedoms of the citizens of the Republic of Belarus,

we, representatives of the civil society organizations in Belarus, urge as follows:

-          President of the Republic of Belarus – to refuse to sign controversial Draft Law of the Republic of Belarus On Introducing Amendments and Additions to the Law of the Republic of Belarus On mass events in the Republic of Belarus and the Draft Law of the Republic of Belarus On Introducing Amendments and Additions to Some Laws of the Republic of Belarus, return them to the Parliament for revision.

-          The Houses of Parliament - to hold a public discussion of the Draft Law of the Republic of Belarus On Introducing Amendments and Additions to the Law of the Republic of Belarus On mass events in the Republic of Belarus and the Draft Law of the Republic of Belarus On Introducing Amendments and Additions to Some Laws of the Republic of Belarus and not to hide from the public the real reasons that induce the executive and representative authorities to enact such changes to the legislation.

-          The Council of Ministers - to withdraw from the Parliament the Draft Law of the Republic of Belarus On Introducing Amendments and Additions to the Law of the Republic of Belarus On State Security Bodies of the Republic of Belarus.

-          The Constitutional Court – to use the right of constitutional controls to prevent violations of constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens caused by adoption of the Draft Law of the Republic of Belarus On Introducing Amendments and Additions to the Law of the Republic of Belarus On mass events in the Republic of Belarus and the Draft Law of the Republic of Belarus On Introducing Amendments and Additions to Some Laws of the Republic of Belarus, as well as the Draft Law of the Republic of Belarus On Introducing Amendments and Additions to the Law of the Republic of Belarus On State Security Bodies of the Republic of Belarus.

Lyudmila Hraznova, Human Rights Alliance
Aleh Hulak, Belarusian Helsinki Committee
Uladzimir Kolas, Council of the Belarusian Intellectuals
Zhanna Litvina, Belarusian Association of Journalists
Maryja Martysevich, Belarusian PEN-Center
Siarhej Mackievic, Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs of Belarus
Olga Smolianko, Legal Transformation Center
Valiantsin Stefanovich, Human Rights Center "Viasna"
Alaksiej Shein, For Freedom of Religion
Aliaksandr Yarashuk, Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions

http://spring96.org/en/news/46526

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