Nasha Vyasna to appeal to UN Human Rights Committee over registration denial


The Supreme Court of Belarus on
August 12 upheld the justice ministry's decision to deny state registration to
a human rights group called Nasha Vyasna.

While explaining his ruling, Judge Anatol Tserakh said
that four people had failed to provide accurate information about their places
of residence and work in the list of the group's founders.

In particular, a teacher wrote that he is in charge of a section, not a group,
while one woman abbreviated the name of the educational institution that
employed her instead of writing it in full.

In addition, the judge dismissed as "legally irrelevant" a letter of
guarantee from a company ready to provide Nasha Vyasna with an office so that
it would have a legal address as required by regulations for obtaining registration.

Although this was the third time that Nasha Vyasna
filed a lawsuit over a registration denial, nothing wrong had been found with
the letter before, BelaPAN quoted Valyantsin Stefanovich, a founder of the group, as saying.

This was Nasha Vyasna's third and final attempt to obtain legal status,
Stefanovich noted. "The Belarusian authorities don't want to register us
for reasons that, in my opinion, are illegal," he said. "We view this
as systematic discrimination against human rights defenders and will complain
to the UN Human Rights Committee. With or without registration, we will
continue our work. I realize full well that I can now be punished under the
Criminal Code's Article 193-1 for acting on behalf of an unregistered