Legal regulations OF non-profit organizations in Belarus

Region:
09.01.2017

1. Public Association (NonGovernmental Organization)

Definition

Public association is a voluntary formation of citizens which they have formed on the basis of their common interests for joint realization of civil, economic, social and cultural rights.

Territory of activity

The legislation of the Republic of Belarus provides a possibility to set up local and national public associations. The basic difference between them is the territory on which they have the right to carry out the activity. Local public association has the right to carry out the activity only on one or several administrative legal units (for example, district or region) on which it is registered. National public association has the right to act throughout the Republic of Belarus.

Registration

The registration of a local public association requires at least 10 persons and the registration of a national public association  not less than 50 persons.

However, the Belarusian legislation establishes not only a minimum quantity of persons that may found a public association. Some territorial restrictions are established also. Thus, for registration of a local public association it is necessary that 10 founders live in the majority of administrative and territorial units of the territory where the activity of association will be carried out. So, if the territory of a region consists of 15 districts, the founders should represent 8 districts as a minimum.

For registration of a national public association it is required, that the majority of Belarusian regions, as well as the city of Minsk were represented by not less than 10 founders. Thus, there should be at least 10 founders from 4 Belarusian regions and 10 founders from Minsk.

Local public associations are registered in Justice Administrations of regional Executive Committees and Minsk City Executive Committee, and national public associations  in the Ministry of Justice. However, registration of public associations is complicated with a special Commission which considers documents before they will be considered by Justice Administrations or the Ministry of Justice. This commission pronounces the conclusion about the submitted documents and although legally the final decision is taken by the Ministry of Justice and Administration of Justice, actually their decision very much depends on the decision of the Commission.

Features of activity

The control of activity of public associations is carried out by the Ministry of Justice. At present the Ministry of Justice very rigidly supervises activity of public associations, and delivers warnings even for the most insignificant infringements. It discourages citizens' intentions to register public associations.

Conclusions

Now activity of public associations is complicated with the rigid control on the part of recording agencies. Recently some public associations were liquidated in the judicial order under claims of the Ministry of Justice for the committed infringements of the legislation.

Besides, there is a quite complicated mechanism of registration and the requirement of a large quantity of founders for registration of a public association.

2. Political party

Definition

Political party is an independent association of citizens formed on the basis of individual voluntary membership assisting to exposure and expression of political will of citizens, and participating in elections.

The basic difference of a political party from a public association is its participation in elections. Public associations have no right to participate in elections officially.

Territory of activity

Political parties operate throughout the territory of Belarus.

Registration

For registration of a political party it is necessary to have not less than 1000 founders who represent Minsk and the majority of regions of the republic. Only Belarusian citizens who have reached 18years age may establish a political party. The president of Belarus, members of the Central Commission of Belarus on elections and realization of republican referenda stop membership in political parties for the whole term of office.

Political parties are registered in the Ministry of Justice. However, just as in case with public associations the registration in the Ministry of Justice is preceded by the procedure of consideration of documents at the session of the special commission whose conclusion as a rule is decisive.

Features of activity

The control of activity of political parties is carried out by the Ministry of Justice. At present the Ministry of Justice very rigidly supervises the activity of political parties, and delivers warnings even for the most insignificant infringements.

Political parties have no right to be engaged in commercial activity except for mass media release and receiving grants from abroad.

Conclusions

At present the activity of political parties is complicated with the rigid control of recording bodies. At the same time the state bodies did not undertake lately the attempts to initiate the process of liquidation of any political party.

Besides there is a quite complicated mechanism of registration and the requirement of many founders for registration of a public association.

3. Trade Union

Definition

The trade union is the organization which unites citizens with common professional interests both in industrial and nonproductive spheres for protection of labour, social and economic rights and interests.

Territory of activity

According to the Belarusian legislation the republican trade unions, territorial trade unions and trade unions of enterprises can be created. Republican trade unions operate throughout the Republic of Belarus. Territorial trade unions operate on the territories of one or several administrative and territorial units. Trade unions of enterprises operate on the territory where an enterprise is set up.

Registration

The initiative of not less than 500 persons who live in Minsk and in the majority of Belarusian regions is necessary for the registration of a republican trade union, for the registration of a territorial trade union  the initiative of not less than 500 founders from the majority of administrative and territorial units of the relevant territory. The least number of founders necessary for creation of trade union at an enterprise is 10 persons. However there is one more criterion for creation of trade union at an enterprise, the number of its founders should be not less than 10 % of the total number of the workers on the enterprise. Thus, in order to create a trade union at the enterprise where, for example, 345 persons work, it is necessary to unite at least 35 persons instead of 10.

Republican trade unions are registered in the Ministry of Justice. Territorial trade unions are registered in Administrations of Justice at regional and Minsk City Executive Committees.

Features of activity

The control of activity of trade unions is carried out by the Ministry of Justice. At present the Ministry of Justice very rigidly supervises the activity of trade unions, and delivers warnings even for the most insignificant infringements.

Conclusions

At present the activity of trade unions is complicated with the rigid control of recording bodies. At the same time the state bodies lately did not undertake attempts to initiate the process of liquidation of any trade union.

Besides, there is a quite complicated mechanism of registration and the requirement of many founders for registration of trade union.

4. Religious organization

Definition

The religious organization is a voluntary association of citizens (religious communities) or religious communities (religious associations), united on the basis of common interests for satisfaction of their religious needs.

Thus, it is possible to create religious organizations of two kinds: religious communities are created in concrete settlements (cities, villages etc.) and unite citizens of one religion; religious associations unite some religious communities.

Territory of activity

Religious communities operate on the territory of those settlements where the citizens are included in a community. Religious associations operate on the territory of those settlements where they have religious communities.

Registration

In order to register a religious community it is necessary to have 20 persons constantly living in one or several settlements, having adjoining territories.

Religious associations are formed at presence of at least ten religious communities of a unified creed. However, there is one more requirement to registration of religious associations: at least one of communities included in religious association should carry out the activity on the territory of the Republic of Belarus for not less than twenty years. caused a Despite the negative estimation of numerous experts involved in the discussion of changes in the Law "About a freedom of worship and the religious organizations" this requirement, however, was included in the law.

Only a few largest religious currents are able to fulfill this requirement specified in the law  that at least one of communities included in religious association carried out the activity on the territory of Belarus for not less than twenty years.

Features of activity

At present the activity of new and not numerous religious currents is considerably complicated. First, they periodically collide with accusations, that they are sects; second, they have no opportunity to register religious association as none of their communities have existed on the territory of Belarus for twenty or more years.

Conclusions

Large religious currents have no serious problems in realization of activity on the territory of Belarus. Especially it concerns the orthodox religion. Although the orthodox religion is not recognized as official, nevertheless it gets a significant support, including at the state level.

Small and young religious currents face serious difficulties for their activity in Belarus.

5. Establishment

Definition

The establishment is the organization created and financed by a proprietor in full or in part for realization of administrative, social, cultural or other functions of nonprofit character.

Territory of activity

The establishment operates on the entire territory of Belarus.

Registration

Only one person is required for the registration of an establishment. Unlike a public association, an establishment is registered in regional or in Minsk city executive committee. Procedure of registration in executive committee is easier than in the Ministry of Justice since it need not to be discussed at the special commission.

Features of activity

Establishments have the same possibilities to realize the programs as the public associations.

Establishments are not supervised by the Ministry of Justice, therefore now the control of them is not as rigid as that of public associations.

Conclusions

Due to easier procedure of registration of establishments and to absence of the control from the Ministry of Justice now an establishment is considered as the alternative to a public association. Some leaders of public associations that were liquidated have already registered establishments and continue to carry out the activity on behalf of such organization.

6. Foundation

Definition

Foundation is a nonprofit organization not having membership founded by citizens (or) legal persons on the basis of voluntary property dues, pursuing social, charitable, cultural, educational or other social benefits.

Territory of activity

Foundation operates throughout the territory of Belarus.

Registration

Only one person is required for the registration of an establishment. Unlike a public association, an establishment is registered in the regional or in Minsk city executive committee. The procedure of registration in executive committee is easier than in the Ministry of Justice since it is not discussed at the special commission.

Features of activity

Establishments have the same possibilities to realize their programs as the public associations.

Establishments are not supervised by the Ministry of Justice, therefore now the control of them is not as rigid as that of public associations.

At the same time a foundation is ruled by a managing body which does not depend on the founder, therefore foundations are less attractive than establishments.

Conclusions

Due to easier procedure of registration of establishments and to absence of the control from the Ministry of Justice at present an establishment is considered as the alternative to a public association. At the same time, the control mechanism of a foundation management is more complicated than that of an establishment. Thus, a foundation is not a very popular nonprofit organization in the Republic of Belarus at present.

Prepared by
Legal Consultant on
Portal for Belarusian NGOs www.ngo.by
Sergey Zikratsky

02.12.2003

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