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Two More Belarusian NGOs Dissolved

The Supreme Court on 22 April liquidated two more nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the Belarusian Center of Constitutionalism and Comparative Legal Studies and the International Institute of Political Studies (IIPS).

The Belarusian Center had cooperated with the Council of Europe, held several conferences on human rights, and published some 30 books during its seven-year existence.

The IIPS studied security issues, international relations, and the political situation in Belarus; its experts often provided commentaries for independent media.

Both NGOs were banned following a move from the Justice Ministry, which said it had found "irregularities" in their registration documents. Alyaksandr Fyodarau of the IIPS told RFE/RL that the authorities' campaign to liquidate NGOs is because of the October parliamentary election and what could turn out to be a referendum on President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's possible third term in power.

"The authorities would not like any independent organizations to watch over [these political events]," Fyodarau said.

"Because this could affect the results and provide people with information not desired by the authorities."

(RFE/RL 23.iv.04)

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