20 July 2019, Saturday, 7:07
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‘Belarusian Court Seems Not Only With Eyes Closed, But With Ears Plugged’

6
ALENA MASLYUKOVA

Svetlahorsk activists constinue their struggle against the Bleached Pulp Plant.

On March 20, the Svetlahorsk district court considered a complaint by activist Tamara Kavalchuk about the refusal of the Bleached Pulp Plant, the Bellesbumprom concern and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection to provide environmental information, the human rights center Viasna writes.

Earlier, Svetlahorsk environmental activists requested materials on the repeated environmental impact assessment of the Bleached Pulp Plant project, but they did not receive them.

At the trial, according to Svetlahorsk human rights activist Alena Maslyukova, representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources took the side of the Bleached Pulp Plant and claimed that environmental impact assessment is not considered the environmental information, to which citizens of the Republic of Belarus have a right.

On March 21, Judge Syadko issued a decision, refusing to satisfy the complaint filed by Tamara Kavalchuk. The judge ground her decision on the fact that the organizations, about the actions of which the complaint was filed, do not have the requested information. The court recalled that the general contracting authority for the construction of the Bleached Pulp Plant is the CAMSE Chinese Engineering Corporation. Therefore, it’s them who should be contacted for information on the plant.

Human rights activist Alena Maslyukova comments on this situation:

- The decision of the court is banal but traditional - leave the complaint unsatisfied. It seems that the Belarusian court is not only with eyes closed, but also with ears plugged. They do not want to see or hear active people.

The Ministry of Natural Resources ’argument in refusing to provide the results of the repeated state environmental impact assessment on the basis that it is not environmental information appears illogical, it can be considered unjustified, as it seems to us.

The human rights activist reminds that Kavalchuk has the right to appeal the decision of the Svetlahorsk district court, which the activist must take advantage of.