On Social Action Organizations

Law of the Republic of Belarus

No. 3254-XII of October 4, 1994 [Law contains all the later amendments and alterations. Last amendments of this Law: Law of the Republic of Belarus No. 213-Z of June 26, 2003]

This Law governs the social relations arising from exercising the right of citizen to unite and determines the principles of establishing a social action organization, its filing and operation.

Chapter 1. General Provisions

Article 1. Concept of a Social Action Organization

A social action organization is a voluntary union of people that has been established on the basis of common interests in order to jointly implement civil, economic, social, and cultural rights.

This Law does not apply to political parties, professional unions, and religious organizations, organizations established by bodies of state administrations, bodies of territorial social self-government, other social formations which establishment and operation are determined by individual legislative acts.

Article 2. Right of People to Unite

Any and all citizens of the Republic of Belarus shall have the right to establish a social action organization on their own initiative or join the already existing social action organization.

Foreign citizens and persons without citizenship are allowed to join the existing social action organizations unless otherwise is provided by their Charters.

Article 3. Restrictions on Social Action Organization Establishment and Operation

It is banned to establish social action organizations which activity is directed to unseat or forcedly change the constitutional regime, violate the integrity and security of the state, propaganda of war and violence, stirring up national, religious and racial hatred, as well as social action organizations, which activity may have negative influence on physical and mental health of citizens.

Article 4. Principles of Establishment and Operation of a Social Action Organization

A social action organization shall be established and operate on the basis of voluntarism, independence and publicity.

Any social action organization shall base its activity on its Charter and operate in compliance with the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, the present Law, and other legislative acts of the Republic of Belarus.

Article 5. Relationship between State and Social Action Organizations

The state shall ensure reservation and protection of the rights and legitimate interests of social action organizations. Neither governmental authorities nor officials shall interfere with the activity of social action organizations and the social action organizations in their turn shall not interfere with the activities of governmental authorities and officials unless the legislation of the Republic of Belarus provides otherwise.

The state may render assistance to social action organizations in their chartered activity in the order established by law.

Article 6. Status of a Social Action Organization

Within the Republic of Belarus international, republican and local social action organizations may be formed and operate.

An international social action organization is a social action organization which activity extends to the territory of the Republic of Belarus (one or more administrative and territorial units) and to the territory of one or more foreign countries and has its organizational structures there.

A republican social action organization is a social action organization which activity extends to the entire territory of the Republic of Belarus.

A local social action organization is a social action organization which activity extends to the territory of one or more administrative and territory units.

Article 7. Legislation on Social Action Organizations

Legislation on Social Action Organizations includes the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, the present Law, and other legislative acts of the Republic of Belarus.

Chapter 2. Formation and Termination of Activities of Social Action Organization

Article 8. Procedure for Formation of a Social Action Organization

A social action organization shall be established on the initiative of citizens of the Republic of Belarus who reached the age of 18, excluding youth and children social action organizations which may be established by citizens of the Republic of Belarus who reached the age of 16.

For establishment and activity of social action organizations in the Republic of Belarus, it shall have:

for international social action organizations — no less than 10 founders (members) from the Republic of Belarus and at least one founder (member) from one or several foreign states;

for republican social action organizations — no less than 10 founders (members) from majority of Oblasts of the Republic of Belarus (10 founders (members) from each Oblasts) and from City of Minsk.

for local social action organizations — no less than 10 founders (members) in majority of administrative and territorial units of territory which will be covered by activity of the social action organization.

Social action organizations may establish unions of social action organizations.

The founders of a social action organization shall convene a constituent congress (conference, general assembly, or other constituent function) to adopt a resolution on the establishment of the social action organization and its charter as well as to form its governing and supervisory bodies.

Article 9. Membership in a Social Action Organization

Any citizen at the age of 16 may be member to a social action organization. In the cases provided by the social action organization's charter, persons under 16 years of age may join the social action organization provided they have been given a written permit by their legal representatives.

Membership in a social action organization shall be fixed.

Article 10. A Social Action Organization Leader

A leader of a social action organization or a member of its supervisory and auditing body may be a person of legal age only.

Article 11. Social Action Organization's Charter

A social action organization Charter must set forth:

1. the name, purpose, objectives, and methods of the organization's activity;

2. the operating territory;

3. conditions and procedure of acquiring and losing the membership;

4. the structure of the social action organization and conditions for forming its organizational structures;

5. the rights and responsibilities of members to the social action organization.

6. the terms of reference, formation and terms of office of governing and supervisory and auditing bodies;

7. the sources and rules of forming the property of organization, body entitled to make decisions on acquisition, managing and disposal of the said property;

8. the procedure for amending and adding the organization's Charter;

9. the procedure for reorganization or liquidation of the organization and use of the remaining property.

10. the legal address of the organization (the location place of its heading bodies). In case of change of the legal address, the social action organization is obliged to submit in one month term to the registration body all necessary documents for alteration the charter of the organization.

The Charter may also include other provisions concerning the establishment and operation of the social action organization, which do not contradict with the legislation of the Republic of Belarus.

Article 12. Name and Symbols of a Social Action Organization

The name of a social action organization, both full and abbreviated, and its symbols shall differ from the names and symbols of other social action organizations registered in the Republic of Belarus and shall not violate the right to intellectual property. The name of a social action organization shall not contain the words such as "Republic of Belarus", "Belarus", "national", "people's" in any grammar case, as well as state symbols or the official name and symbols of another country excluding cases provided by legal acts.

A social action organization shall have the right of using the name of a citizen by only his consent and if the citizen dies by the common consent of the surviving spouse, parents and adult children. If the listed persons are non-existent, using the name of a person in the organization's name shall be the matter of the organization.

Names and symbols of social action organizations shall not serve for propaganda of purposes set forth in Part One of Article 3 herein.

Names of social action organizations, both full and abbreviated, and their symbols must differ from the names, both full and abbreviated, and symbols of social action organizations which have been liquidated by judgement of court.

Symbols of a social action organization shall be approved by its governing body in compliance with the Charter and are subject to state registration in order provided by legislation.

Article 13. Registration of a Social Action Organization

The order of registration of social action organizations shall be determined by legislation.

To have a social action organization registered, the following shall be submitted to a registration body within a month since its establishment date:

1. an application signed by at least three members of the governing body.

2. Charter.

3. the minutes of the constituent congress (conference, general assembly or other constituent function).

4. the bank document confirming that the registrations fee has been paid.

5. materials confirming that the requirements of the present Law have been met such as:

details on the originators of the social action organization (for a individual: name, first name, date of birth, residence, nationality; for a union of social action organizations: a copy of certificate of registration of each member organization, and extracts from the minutes of the governing body meetings which adopted the resolution on origination);

declarations of persons listed in Part 2 of Article 12 of herein on their consent to the use of the personal name of an individual.

decision of the supreme body on conferring necessary powers to the members of the governing body and delegating them the right to represent the social action organization at its registration or at considering a dispute in court.

6. other documents determined by legislation.

Article 14.

The present article has become invalid

Article 15. 

The present article has become invalid

Article 16. Registration Procedure for Social Action Organizations

The executive committees of the Council of Deputies shall register organizational structures of the social action organizations.

To have an organization registered, the organization's management shall submit the proper document on establishment of the organizational structure to the above body within a month.

Article 17. 

The present article has become invalid

Article 18. 

The present article has become invalid

Article 19. Registration Fee

Registration fee which size and collection procedure are determined by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus shall be collected for registration of a social action organization (or its symbols if their registration is not concurrent with that of the organization).

Article 20. State Register of Social Action Organizations

The Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus maintains the State Register of Social Action Organizations.

The legal departments of the executive committees in the regional (Oblast) and the Minsk City Councils of Deputies maintain the Registers of Social Action Organizations. The proper data shall be submitted to the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus within ten days.

Article 21. Reorganization and Liquidation of a Social Action Organization

A social action organization may be reorganized (merged, made a part of, divided, isolated and transformed) by decision of their supreme bodies. Registration of the new organizations formed as a result of reorganization shall be exercised in accordance with the general procedure.

A social action organization may be liquidated:

1) by decision of its superior body.

2) by judgement of court on the grounds provided by Article 29 of the present Law.

An international or a republican social action organization operating in the territory of the Republic of Belarus may be liquidated by judgement of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus on presentation of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus.

A local social action organization may be liquidated by judgement of a regional (Oblast) court or the Minsk City Court at the location of the governing body of the organization in question on presentation of the legal department of the regional (Oblast) executive committee or the Minsk City executive committee of the Councils of Deputies.

The funds and property of the liquidated social action organization shall be directed for the purposes provided by its Charter after the pecuniary claims have been met.

The decision of the superior body of a social action organization on its liquidation or the appropriate decision of the court shall be forwarded to the registration and financial bodies, and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus, and published in an official press.

Based on the decision of the superior body of the social action organization or the court's judgement the registration body shall delete the liquidated social action organization from the Register of Social Action Organizations, and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus shall delete it from the State Register of Social Action Organizations.

Chapter 3. Rights and Terms of Social Action Organizations Operations

Article 22. Rights of Social Action Organizations

Any social action organization shall enjoy the following rights:

1) freely obtain and dissipate any information pertaining to its activities; establish news media of its own or use the state mass media in the established order; exercise publishing activity.

2) represent and defend the rights and legitimate interests of its members (participants) in the governmental, economic and public bodies and organizations.

3) form if needed structural units at its own cost.

4) perform production and economic activities directed to solution of chartered problems and tasks.

5) have its own symbols (flag, anthem, emblem, pendant, badge, neck tie).

Article 23. Finances of a Social Action Organization

A social action organization may possess any property required for supporting its chartered activity except for the installations which shall be in exclusive possession of the state as provided by law.

Social action organization funds are formed of:

1). admission fees and membership dues (if provided by the Charter);

2). voluntary donations;

3). proceeds from lectures, exhibitions, sport and other events, lotteries;

4). revenue of production and economic activities;

5). other miscellaneous income which is not prohibited by law.

The finances and property of a social action organization may not be distributed between the members to the organization and shall be used for attainment of only the chartered purposes and objectives; the social action organizations are allowed to use their funds for charity purposes even if this is not provided by their charters.

Article 24. Protection of the Rights of a Social Action Organization

Protection of the rights and legitimate interests of any social action organization shall be exercised judicially unless otherwise provided by law.

Chapter 4. Control over Compliance of Social Action Organization Activities with Legislation and Charter. Liability for Violation of Legislation

Article 25. Control over Compliance of Social Action Organization Activities with Legislation and Charter

Supervision of the compliance of the social action organization activities with the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and laws of the Republic of Belarus shall be exercised by the Procurator-General of the Republic of Belarus and his subordinate procurators.

Control over the compliance of a social activity organization's activity with its charter shall be exercised by the body that has registered the social activity organization in question.

Control over financial activities of a social action organization, including their sources of income, amounts received and tax payment shall be exercised by the state taxation body.

Other kinds of interference with the social action organization activity are prohibited.

Article 26. Liability for Violation of Law

Social action organizations, officials and citizens shall be liable for violation of the present Law in compliance with the legislation of the Republic of Belarus.

A social action organization which illegal activities incurred pecuniary or moral damage to an individual or a legal person shall compensate for the damages suffered in the order prescribed by the legislation of the Republic of Belarus.

Article 27. Penalties

Violation of the present Law, other acts of legislation, as well as requirements of the Charter by a social action organization may incur the following penalties:

1) a written warning.

2) liquidation of the social action organization.

Article 28. Written Warning

If any action of a social action organization conflicts with the provisions of the present Law except the cases where a violation would involve liquidation of the organization by judgement of the court, violations of other legislative acts as well as the requirements of the Charter, the governing body of the social action organization shall be forwarded a written warning from the registration body.

The warning shall be either handed in or mailed to the governing body of the social action organization within three days from its issue.

The written warning pronounced to the governing body of an international or republican social action organization may be appealed against to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus, and the written warning pronounced to the governing body of a local social action organization may be appealed against to the respective Oblast (regional) or Minsk-City Court regarding location of the governing body of this social action organization.

Article 29. Liquidation of a Social Action Organization

A social action organization shall be liquidated by judgement of the court when:

1) it has performed any action mentioned in Article 3 of the present Law.

2) it has repeatedly performed the action which caused the written warning to be issued within a year.

3) Its founders violated the provisions of the present Law, other acts of legislation during registration of the social action organization.

A social action organization may be liquidated under the court decision for a onetime violation of legislation on mass activities in cases directly provided by legislative acts of the Republic of Belarus.

Chapter 5. International Relations of Social Action. International Treaties

Article 30. International Relations of Social Action Organizations

In accordance with its Charter, a social action organization may join any international social action organization, take part in the establishment of the international social action organizations, maintain direct international contacts and ties, conclude the appropriate agreements and take other steps which do not contradict with legislation of the Republic of Belarus and its international commitments.

Article 31. Activity of Organizational Units of a Foreign State's Social Action Organizations in the Territory of the Republic of Belarus

Branches, divisions, representations and other organizational units of a foreign country's social action organization shall be established and operate in the territory of the Republic of Belarus in compliance with the present Law and other legislative acts.

Article 32. International Treaties

Should an international treaty of the Republic of Belarus establish other rules than these of the present Law, the international agreement would prevail.

This translation is unofficial.

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