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30 August 2022, 13:20

Bill on civil society under development in Belarus

MINSK, 30 August (BelTA) - Head of the Belarus President Administration Igor Sergeyenko reported on the status of a draft law on civil society at a conference hosted by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, BelTA has learned.

"The government should acknowledge the activity of people, build appropriate work with them in order to have support in the form of a socially responsible civil society. A new law is needed to build on the forms of interaction that have already developed in practice," said Igor Sergeyenko.

According to him, the draft takes into account the positive experience of the authorities working with non-state organizations as much as possible. "We draw on the practical experience," the head of the President Administration said.

Also, the developers have outlined the structures of civil society that will participate in the work of the Belarusian People's Congress.

The draft law defines the concept of civil society and its subjects. "It is proposed to understand civil society as all permanent residents of the Republic of Belarus that are members of various non-state structures that form a system of independent public institutions and relations. The subjects of civil society (or, as some political scientists suggest, institutions) are proposed to include any associations on the basis of membership, regardless of the quantitative, territorial or other qualifications, whose statutory activities are aimed at solving the problems of the state and society," said Igor Sergeyenko.

The document also lists the forms of cooperation between the authorities and civil society entities: public control, participation in the work of collegial units of state bodies and others.

Under the draft law, delegates of the Belarusian People's Congress may include representatives of those subjects of civil society that are registered and have regional and Minsk City structures, are national public associations with the membership of at least 100,000 people, and unite at least half of the trade unions registered in the country. Such institutions have special forms of interaction with the state. They are involved in the development and collection of proposals for discussion and implementation of the decisions of the Belarusian People's Congress.

As of August 2022, these criteria were met by the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (over 4 million people), Belaya Rus (over 188,000 people), BRSM Youth Union (over 380,000 people), the Belarusian Union of Women (140,000 people), and the Association of Veterans (over 2 million people).

“The submitted draft law does not consider political parties as a special authorized subject of civil society, even though they are a part of the social and political system of the country,” the head of the Belarus President Administration said.

According to the draft law, the authorities to refer the subjects of civil society to the public structures that have the right to interact with the state in special forms are vested with the Justice Ministry.

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