Publication of a mission report following the denial of registration of the Public Human Rights Association "Nasha Viasna"

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The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), publishes today a judicial observation mission report in the case Public Human Rights Association "Nasha Viasna" v. Ministry of Justice of Belarus.

The trial took place before the Supreme Court of Belarus from August 10 to 12, 2009. "Nasha Viasna" was challenging the denial of registration issued by the Ministry of Justice in May 2009 (see Urgent Appeal BLR 001/0309/OBS 038.2).

On this occasion, the Observatory sent an international observer, who reported on the violations of international human rights standards noted during the hearings.

The observer, Mr. Kirill Koroteev, a Russian lawyer, reported in particular that in his decision, Supreme Court Judge Anatol Tserakh followed the Ministry and Prosecutor’s reasoning - although it was manifestly contrary to international human rights standards - and did not address the applicants’ arguments. The Supreme Court eventually confirmed the decision of the Ministry of Justice to deny the registration of the organisation "Nasha Viasna".

This verdict has subjected "Nasha Viasna" members to the risk of being arrested at any time since participating in the activities of an unregistered association is punishable by Article 193.1 of the Belarusian Criminal Code.

The Observatory vehemently denounces the ruling of the Supreme Court, which blatantly violates international human rights standards on freedom of association, and in particular Article 5 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

The Observatory also points out that this verdict violates a July 2007 United Nations Human Rights Committee [1] decision, which had concluded that the dissolution of Viasna was a violation of Article 22.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and that the co-authors of the complaint were "entitled to an appropriate remedy, including the re-registration of Viasna".

The mission report includes recommendations to the Belarusian authorities, to the European Union (EU), and to the Organisation for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The report is available on FIDH and OMCT websites at:



For further information, please contact:

· FIDH: Gaël Grilhot / Karine Appy: + 33 1 43 55 25 18

· OMCT: Delphine Reculeau : + 41 22 809 49 39

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