Human Rights Centre Viasna starts working in new office

On 1 April 2013 the new office of the Human Rights Centre Viasna opened its doors in Minsk.

The human rights defenders presented new analytical editions, shared their plans for the future and defined the priorities for their current activities.

It was quite difficult to find a new office room after the confiscation of the previous one. As stated by the deputy head of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Valiantsin Stefanovich at the press conference, taking into account the circumstances in which “Viasna” has to work “it is desirable that the person who lends the apartment has no business or family in Belarus. Thus, the owner of the apartment doesn’t live in Belarus and we use it on the basis of power of attorney with the most extensive rights and powers. That’s why I hope that we will stay here for a long time.”

Despite the obstacles on the part of the authorities, the Human Rights Center “Viasna” will continue all directions of its activities, emphasized Mr. Stefanovich.

“Our human rights organization is wholly legitimate and pursues legitimate objectives. I shall note that the latest Resolution of the UN Human Rights Council eloquently emphasized that states have not only negative undertakings (such as non-interference with legitimate activities of human rights organizations), but also positive ones, including the creation of favorable conditions for the realization of the right to protect the rights and interests of other individuals and receive finances for such activities (including foreign financing), as far as this rights is guaranteed by the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. By the way, as stated in the recent decision of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions concerning the case of the head of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Ales Bialiatski, this is the way freedom of association is considered within the context of Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We will continue our activities keeping it in mind.”

The work of “Viasna” has continued without any break since the confiscation of its previous office in November 2012, despite the absence of premises. The public reception operated at the office of the movement “For Freedom” and the Committee to Protect the Repressed “Solidarity”, whereas other human rights defenders had some time to concentrate on analytical work. As a result, there were published several analytical editions – yearly Review-Chronicle of Human Rights in Belarus and a Report on the results of the monitoring of the penitentiary institutions of the Republic of Belarus.

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