URGENT COMMUNIQUE FROM THE BELARUSIAN SOROS FOUNDATION

Minsk, March 20, 1997

On the morning of March 19, 1997, the office of the Belarusian Soros Foundation was visited by a group of state officials headed by Igor Borisovich Lukomskiy, chief specialist of the State Secretariat for the Belarusian Security Council. He tendered the Foundationís management an order from Viktor Sheyman, the State Secretary for the Security Council, regarding the creation of a commission to inspect the financial, economic and other activities of the Soros Foundation.

Article 25 of the Belarusian law governing non-governmental organisations states that "Inspections of whether the activities of a non-governmental organisation conform to the Belarusian Constitution and laws must be carried out by the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus and prosecutors subordinate to him. Inspections of whether the activities of a non-governmental organisation conform to their charters must be carried out by the bodies which registered the non-governmental organisation in question. Inspections of the financial activities of a non-governmental organisation, including their sources of income, the amounts of money they receive, and tax payments must be carried out by state tax bodies. Other intervention in the activities of non-governmental organisations is prohibited".

Consequently, according to the law, this order could be described as unsanctioned interference in the activities of our non-governmental organisation.

Due to the current situation in which

  • Belarusian presidential decree No.6, regulating the procedure to grant concessions from taxes and customs duties for legal and physical entities of the Republic of Belarus, came into force on March 10, 1997, all Cabinet of Ministers resolutions adopted earlier are no longer valid, including the one granting concessions from taxes and customs duties for the Belarusian Soros Foundation;
  • the Belarusian Soros Foundationís executive director Peter Byrne was evicted from the country, which was a gross violation of both international and Belarusian legislative standards;
  • an inspection of the Belarusian Soros Foundationís activities has begun based on the aforementioned order from Viktor Sheyman, the State Secretary for the Security Council,

The Belarusian Soros Foundation is informing you that it will try to continue to operate as best it can.

The Belarusian Soros Foundationís
Information and Public Relations Department
begun@bsf.minsk.by

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