The Human Rights Center has been explained that only registered organizations may participate in the international conference.
On March 10 Minsk will host an international conference dedicated to the death penalty. The Human Rights Center “Viasna”, which has been dealing with the issue of abolishing the death penalty in Belarus for years, has not received an invitation to this conference, charter97.org informs with the reference to Radio Svaboda.
“This is the continuation of the Foreign Ministry’s policy, which in principle does not invite us to events, which are held with their participation, because we do not have official registration, - Valiantsin Stefanovich, deputy head of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" explained. - I understand that this is the problem. When there were consultations on the monitoring, which the Foreign Ministry arranged with non-governmental organizations, we also were not invited, but we are actively involved in the monitoring procedure, we prepared an alternative report, developed recommendations”.
“This is the continuation of the policy of the Belarusian authorities aimed at the marginalization of our organization, - deputy head of the HRC "Viasna" claimed. – On the one hand, they do not register us, and on the other – do not invite us to various events, as we are not registered. But the fact that international organizations do actually support such approaches as separation of organizations to “registered” and “unregistered,” “bad” and “good” is not good for the human rights sector, since selection into “good” and “bad” is established”.
“Despite all this, we will continue to work within the framework of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders against the death penalty,” – Valiantsin Stefanovich commented.
The Belarusian Foreign Ministry said that the Foreign Ministry was not the organizer of the conference; it was organized by the office of the UN Development Programme.
Spokesman for the UN Office in Belarus Viktar Radzivinouski explained the situation:
“The principle of an invitation to the event is as follows: an organization should exist and be registered. If the Belarusian Helsinki Committee is registered in Belarus, it is invited to participate. As well as the “Justice Initiative” and the Belarusian Association of Journalists. “Viasna” is not registered, so it has not been invited.”
However, participants of the conference are going to meet with “Viasna” human rights defenders outside the conference. In particular, they have been invited by Special Representative of the European Union on Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis, who is visiting Belarus from 8 to 11 of March.
There is also special rapporteur on Belarus in the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly AndreaRigoni among the participants of the conference.