Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт


Baranavičy: collecting signatures is only possible in desolate districts

The official website of the Baranavičy city executive committee has published a decision “On the definition of places prohibited for picketing in order to collect signatures for the nomination of candidates for the President of Belarus."

“It is good that the above decision of the city authorities does not prohibit collecting signatures, as it was before, near shops, houses of culture, entrances to enterprises, and the Viasiolka mall. But we are saddened by the fact that it is still prohibited to collect signatures in the most populous parts of the city: the central square, near the facilities of road and rail transport, at markets, as well as near the buildings of local authorities,” says local human rights activist Siarhei Housha.

However, the most controversial for the local human rights activists, party members and civil society activists is paragraph 1 of the decision, which prohibits collecting signatures near the territory of the organizations in charge of defense, state security and the livelihoods of the population. Human rights activist Siarhei Housha believes that the decision does not entirely clear specifies which organizations can be classified as “in charge of defense, state security and livelihoods of the population"? Therefore, according to Siarhei Housha, the city government can actually prohibit picketing where they deem it appropriate.

Meanwhile, as the experience of the last elections shows, such rules apply only to the initiative groups of alternative candidates.

"Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections"