Updated at 11:40,06-05-2021

Justice ministry denies registration to “Tell the Truth!“ movement


The justice ministry has, for the third time, denied state registration to The "Tell the Truth!" opposition movement.

An application for registering the movement as a national educational public association was submitted on May 8.

The ministry explained that although valid on the date of submission, a letter confirming that the "Tell the Truth!" movement had a legal address expired on May 31, a member of the movement, Syarhey Vaznyak, told BelaPAN.

"The ministry kept silent until the very last moment and then announced that we didn’t have a legal address," he said. "We could have submitted a new letter of guarantee at any moment, which means that this ‘flaw’ in our registration papers was not of an ‘incorrigible nature,’ as the ministry put it."

The other "flaw" was that the movement had failed to specify the number of its board members. "This is a blatant lie," Mr. Vaznyak commented. "We have five people on our board, and their names were listed in the application."

Mr. Vaznyak noted that the justice ministry had violated regulation by taking more than a month to provide a reply to the applicants. He said that the movement would appeal the registration denial to the Supreme Court of Belarus within a month. "Of course, we understand what the outcome will be," he said. "That is why we’ll hold one more founding conference after the Supreme Court rejects our appeal and then apply for registration. We’ll keep playing this game with authorities. It’s not difficult for us to gather 50 people for the founding conference."

The "Tell the Truth!" movement held its third founding conference in Minsk on April 13 in a bid to obtain registration.

The conference was attended by some 60 delegates representing Minsk and all of the country’s six regions, who elected former presidential candidate Uladzimir Nyaklyayew as its chairman and Andrey Dzmitryyew as deputy chairman.

The organization described its mission as contributing to the creation of a democratic, law-based state, the development of civil society and the economy, and the strengthening of the Belarusian people’s patriotic traditions.

It described its major tasks as promoting Belarus’ social and economic achievements, analyzing and solving social and economic problems, and helping introduce the principles of a law-based state, patriotism, social justice, law and order, and equality.

The "Tell the Truth!" movement was established on February 25, 2010, with the initial aim of raising the awareness of the public of social and economic problems in the country and pressing for the government to solve them. During the presidential race later that year, hundreds of activists of the movement across Belarus collected ballot-access signatures and electioneered for Mr. Nyaklyayew.

The movement’s previous two registration applications were also rejected for technical reasons.