Chairman of the Delegation for Relations with Belarus on the Freedom of Assembly

Brussels,  3 December 2009. In  my  capacity of a Chairman  of the  European  Delegation  for Relations  with Belarus  I  would  like  to  express  my  deep  concern  about  the  situation  of the Belarusian  Christian Democracy  party (BCD).  In my last  statement  as  of 17 April  2009  I  had already  communicated  my  disappointment  about  the  denial  of registration  of the  BCD. My  concerns  grow  as  regards  the  forthcoming  decision on  the  registration  of this  party  by  the  Belarusian Ministry of Justice that is foreseen for the next week.

I closely follow the situation of the civil society organizations and political parties  in Belarus. To my  knowledge  the  BCD  held  two  Founding Conventions  – 28  February  and  31 October  2009. After both events the BCD submitted the documents required for the state registration of a political party to the Ministry of Justice with the required signatures and personal details of 1,050 founders. Mass repressions against the founders of the party started in both cases shortly after the documents were submitted  - dismissals  from  the  jobs, expels  from  the universities, phone calls  threats  to be either dismissed or deprived of their place of living, intimidations by the Belarusian KGB. After  the  second  attempt  to  apply  for  registration  the  repressions  on  the  BCD  members  were intensified  in  particular  in  Minsk,  Brest,  Grodna,  Vitebsk,  Babrujsk, Baranavichy,  Bykhau, Kalinkavichy,  Haradok.  More  than  40  people  were  contacted  and  pressed  to  abstain  of  their political activities; only 6 people decided to withdraw their signatures as BCD founders because of the pressure by the authorities.

In  regards  to  the above mentioned and with a special  reference  to  the  latest GAERC decision  to give the Belarusian government another 12 months I re-call on  the Belarusian authorities  to keep up to their declarations and  to  introduce the actual reforms  in  the areas highlighted  in several EU documents. 

Herewith I declare  my  solidarity  with the  Christian  Democrats  of Belarus  and  call  upon  the Belarusian  state  authorities  to  ensure  the  right  of  freedom  of assembly  in  Belarus  and  in  this context  to allow  the  registration of the BCD.  I underline  that  the article 193.1 of the Belarusian Criminal Code, which provides  for criminal charges being  imposed on  those who are involved  in the  activities  of unregistered  associations,  religious  organisations  or  funds,  violates  the  basic human rights and needs to be abolished.