Information Ministry blocks websites of ecological association ‘Ecodom’ and other public organizations

On 3 November, the Ministry of Information restricted access to the website of the “Ecodom” organization on the territory of Belarus. The document was signed by the first deputy information minister Andrei Kuntsevich.

Representatives of Ecodom Syarhei Mahonau and Maryna Dubina. Photo: ecohome-ngo.by

The Supreme Court liquidated the public association “Ecodom” on 31 August of this year.

On 21 October, the countries-participants of the Aarhus Convention recognized this liquidation as a violation of the Convention and the result of NGO prosecution. According to the ruling, if no steps are taken to renew the registration of “Ecodom” by 1 December 2021, Belarus will lose its rights and privileges under the Convention. Belarus’ suspension of rights in the Aarhus Convention will come into force on 1 February 2022.

The decision to restrict access to the “Ecodom” website. Photo: “Ecodom”/Facebook

Aarhus Convention is a convention of UN Economic Commission for Europe on access to information, public participation in decision making and access to justice in environmental matters.

“Ecodom” is a public association founded in 1996 to promote an environmentally friendly way of life and ideas of sustainable development. It is one of the oldest non-profit environmental organizations in Belarus.

At the moment of liquidation, there were 82 members of the organization all over Belarus. The activities of “Ecodom” covered various spheres — from environmental education to protection of people’s rights to a favorable environment. One of the initiatives of “Ecodom” was the Belarusian anti-nuclear campaign against the construction of the nuclear power plant in Astravets.

Also on 4 November, the authorities blocked websites of other NGOs, these are:

Association of Belarusians of the World “Batskaushchyna” – zbsb.org;

association of entrepreneurs “Perspektyva” – perspektyva.org;

Belarusian Pen Center – penbelarus.org;

Union of Belarusian Writers – lit-bel.org;

Belarusian Association of Journalists – baj.by;

Belarusian Committee of ICOMOS – icomos-belarus.by.

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