On August 10, the official Belarusian mass media reported that the registration of parties, trade unions, and NGOs was simplified.
The simplification of the registration procedure is connected with the changes the Council of Ministers made to the acting legislation.
As BelTA reports, "the draft resolution has been worked out by the Ministry of Justice to implement a common approach to the official registration of legal entities."
But it will be useful to remember that the Ministry of Justice rejected registration several times to the organizing committee on creation of the Belarusian Christian Democracy Party for last six months. "Nasha Viasna" public human rights association has faced the same problems. It has made several unsuccessful attempts to register in Belarus.
In spite of statements of influential international organizations, the Belarusian authorities not only refuse to register "Nasha Viasna", but also deny visas to representatives of well-known human rights organizations. So, on July 30, President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) Souhayr Belhassen was denied a visa in the Belarusian consulate in Paris.
Deputy head of the United Civil Party Alyaksandr Dabravolski thinks the simplification of official registration of parties and NGOs can remain on paper. He told this to the website www.charter97.org.
"I remember 1999, when Alyaksandr Lukashenka issued decree №2, that created maximum obstacles for Belarusian citizens for creating political parties and NGOs," Alyaksandr Dabravolski says. "Moreover, this decree set a precedent, when people were brought to criminal (!) responsibility for membership in an NGO. All organizations had to undergo re-registration after the decree had been issued. Lots of parties and NGOs disappeared. I don’t know what changes are expected after the new rules take affect, but I see more words and no actions in this liberalization."
The political says that the main problem in registration is not the law, but "selectivity" of officials.
"Simplification of official registration is positive anyway. It broadens possibilities of civil socirty to control the authorities. Another case is that the main problem is not in bad laws but in a "selective" form to fulfil the law. Any change in the law doesn’t mean anything while the authorities use double standards when registering parties and NGOs. Changes are possible only if this practice disappears," Alyaksandr Dabravolski thinks.