The majority of human rights organizations in Belarus adopted the statement of common position on the Interagency plan. Human rights activists support the approval of the document believing that "theInteragency plan can become an effective tool to improve the human rights situation in Belarus", but believe that it needs further improvement, "based on the proposals of the Belarusian human rights organizations."
"Interagency plan is a document human rights activists have been waiting for since long ago, it is really important to us, - explains the necessity of addressing general public with the common position Volha Smalianka, the director of the Legal Transformation Centre “Lawtrend”, in her talk with the "EuroBelarus" Information Service. - Interagency plan is a comprehensive document, which contains a list of specific recommendations in the field of human rights. But this document can become either an effective mechanism in this area, or just a declaration of intentions, "a paper to be shelved, box-ticking". It is difficult for us to believe that it would be implemented so easily in a state commonly known for originally creating adverse conditions for the activities of human rights organizations."
Volha Smalianka highlights that one of the main problems Belarusian human rights activists face is the refusals of state to register their organizations. "It would be at least misleading to state that the Interagency plan will be fully implemented while human rights organizations are repeatedly denied registration, and thus made illegal, - said Lawtrend director. – The Human Rights Center "Viasna" was denied reregistering despite the request of the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations. Recently the gender centre Ruzha and the organization "Gender Partnership" fighting for the elimination of discrimination against women were denied registration. But the government decided that the Belarusian society does not need such organizations: if it was stated in the Constitution that there is no discrimination in Belarus it means there’s none. "
So far, despite several requests to the Ministry of Internal Affairs for review of its decision, Alena Tankachova, the chairman of the board of Lawtrend, is in exile.
There are recorded cases of pressure on civil society activists. "All of these must be eliminated, otherwise Interagency plan will be useless," - emphasizes Volha Smalianka. "Let me underline that currently the document contains a set of fairly general recommendations. For it to start working, it is needed to present more detailed plans for the ministries and agencies mentioned. And it is important to encourage participation of all interested parties including the human rights organization in the development of these sub-plans. General public should participate in the decision-making, NGOs need to communicate with government agencies, "- believes Volha Smalianka.
Moreover the Lawtrend Director stresses the plan must be a "flexible document". "Attention should be paid to the nearest future development measures related to the human rights situation in Belarus as well. The document must take into account the recommendations, which can be proposed to Belarus by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Committee against Torture and the Human Rights Committee shortly", - concluded Volha Smalianka.