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25 Apr 2018

Minsk expected to extend mandate of CoE information point for two years

MINSK, 25 April (BelTA) - The mandate of the Council of Europe information point in Minsk is expected to get prolonged for two years, Andrei Naumovich, chairman of the standing commission on human rights, national relations and mass media of the House of Representatives, said at a meeting of the PACE Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy in Strasbourg on 25 April, BelTA learned from the press service of the House of Representatives.

Belarus appreciates the work done by the Council of Europe information point in Minsk. “Belarus is expected to make a positive decision regarding the Council of Europe’s request to extend the mandate of the information point for two years. We see it as an effective and acceptable form of the presence of the Council of Europe in Belarus, which corresponds to the current level of the relations between the parties,” Andrei Naumovich said.

He added that the Belarusian Parliament is generally satisfied with the positive development of the interaction between Belarus and the Council of Europe, including the joint work on the implementation of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Belarus 2016-2017. “The proposal of the Council of Europe has received a positive feedback and this document will be extended into 2018. During the talks in Minsk on 6 April with Verena Taylor, director of the Office of the Directorate General of Programs at the Council of Europe, the Belarusian side noted its provisional readiness to develop a new policy paper for 2019-2020,” the MP noted.

Belarus believes it is necessary to expand constructive cooperation with the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly, Andrei Naumovich emphasized. “We are ready to discuss any sensitive issue. We are open for constructive dialogue with our international partners. The Belarus-EU Coordination Group is set to meet in Minsk shortly. The agenda will include the issues related to the observance of human rights in Belarus and the European Union countries,” said the MP.

Belarus is interested in expanding pragmatic cooperation with the Council of Europe, primarily in acceding its conventions and agreements. An additional protocol to the Anti-Doping Convention will come into effect for Belarus next week. Thus, Belarus will reaffirm its commitment to clean sports.

Andrei Naumovich also spoke about the efforts of the Belarusian parliament to improve the current legislation. During its spring session the House of Representatives will consider the draft law “On Regulatory Acts”, which introduces mandatory public hearings for certain bills. “This mechanism will be engaged if a bill affects the rights, freedoms and duties of citizens and establishes new or changes the existing approaches to the legal regulation of the certain area,” the MP explained. Belarus is currently discussing the expediency of excluding from the Criminal Code the responsibility for activities conducted on behalf of an unregistered public association, a political party.

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