Cathy Fitzpatrick on Thu, 20 May 1999 10:24:04 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> NGOs in Belarussia in danger

Dear All,

President Lukashenko of Belarus has unleashed yet another crackdown on the
independent sector in his country, demanding the re-registration of NGOs,
trade unions, and parties -- hundreds of citizens' groups active in a wide
variety of issues. A number of groups have already been warned that they
are not in compliance with the harsh new regulations. Many fear that they
will face a loyalty test and be forced to pledge allegiance to
Lukashenko's 1996 constitution before they will be registered.

At an OSCE meeting in Warsaw, a group of Belarusian activists signed the
appeal below, and called on NGOs around the world to endorse their

This is what could be done:

1) Endorse their appeal, and return your signature to the League by reply
e-mail. We will collect names and forward them to the OSCE offices in
support of this petition. (If you are reading this on a list-serve, don't
hit reply! Write

2) If you can take more time, write a letter protesting the anti-NGO
decree and urging that all citizens' organizations (parties, trade unions,
and NGOs) be registered in compliance with international standards. Ask us
for sample letters and the fax numbers of officials in Belarus.

3) Adopt a Belarusian organization and keep in contact with your
colleagues as much as possible as they struggle for legitimacy. We can
work with local leaders to match your organization with a relevant group
(e.g. environmental, human rights, women's rights, lawyers, workers, etc.)

4) Pass this e-mail on to everyone you know around the world -- the more
groups we can sign on from both inside and outside OSCE countries, the
more compelling the appeal will be to the Belarusian government and to

Please respond quickly, the deadline for re-registration in July 1. We
need to make a significant display of support.


Cathy Fitzpatrick 

Executive Director 

International League for Human Rights 



April 29, 1999 Warsaw, Poland

President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus has passed a decree (dated
January 26, 1999) requiring the registration of NGOs, trade unions, and
political parties before July 1, 1999. The established procedures and
regulations for re-registration are actually aimed at liquidating any
organizations independent of the regime.

However, particularly NGOs, trade unions, and political parties form the
basis of civil society, and in fact they guarantee the development of the
"human dimension," which is, after all, one of the chief purposes of the
Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

We, representatives of Belarusian NGOs, welcome the efforts of the OSCE
Advisory and Monitoring Group in Minsk and Amb. Hans-Georg Wieck
personally in defending the third or non-state sector in Belarus.

We appeal to this esteemed seminar with the request to support these
efforts and to exercise oversight of the situation regarding the third
sector in Belarus.

We call on the secretariat of the OSCE, the current Chair-in-Office of the
OSCE and the OSCE participating states to take all possible measures in
order to prevent the banning in Belarus of the activity of human rights
organizations, trade unions, and other NGOs and political parties.


Belarusian Helsinki Committee

Free Trade Union of Belarus

All-Belarusian Club of Voters

Association of Women Lawyers

Belarusian Organization of Working Women

Belarusian Open Society Foundation

Spring 1996 Human Rights Center

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