Human rights groups assess the latest legislative changes affecting civil society in Belarus

Belarus is expected to hold parliamentary elections on November 17, 2019. To assess the pre-election environment and give an overview of the latest legal changes concerning human rights and civil society in Belarus, human rights CSOs will organize a side event at the forthcoming OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM)*.

CSOs, expected to be joined by the the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Belarus Ms. Anaïs Marin, will focus on:

  • New legislation on mass events and practice, which requires organizers to pay large money for rallies and demonstrations, which entered into force in 2019.
  • an overview of the first stages of the election campaign on behalf of the domestic election observation coalition “Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections”.
  • New anti-extremism laws and fresh amendments to Anti-Money Laundering/Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) laws.
  • The abolition of Article 1931 of the Criminal Code, which was replaced by a monetary fine for the operation of unregistered associations and religious groups.
  • Draft law “On amendments to the laws on the activities of political parties and other public associations”, prepared by government.
  • Implementation of the three-year ‘Inter-agency Plan for implementing the recommendations addressed Belarus within the framework of the UN Mechanisms”.
  • Expectations from the next UPR report of Belarus at the UN Human Rights Council planned for 36th session of the UPR working group in May 2020.

The side event is held on September 26 in Warsaw and is organized by the  Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs of Belarus in cooperation with the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, Legal Transformation Centre Lawtrend and Committee “Salidarnasts”.

For the latest semi-annual report on the changes in legal environment for non-commercial organizations and freedom of associations in Belarus, click here.

*The Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) of OSCE participating States is Europe’s largest annual human rights and democracy conference. It is organized every year by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) as a platform for the 57 OSCE participating States, OSCE structures, CSOs, international organizations and other actors to take stock of the implementation of OSCE human dimension commitments, discuss associated challenges, share good practices and make recommendations for further improvement.  2019 HDIM  will take place in Warsaw from 16 to 27 September 2019.