MINSK, 18 April 2005 - The Head of the OSCE Office in Minsk, Ambassador Eberhard Heyken, today expressed regret over the recent decision by the Supreme Court of Belarus to liquidate the Independent Institute of Social, Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS).
One of the main activities of the IISEPS, closed down for administrative violations of the law, was to survey public opinion on political events in Belarus.
"It is extremely regrettable that the IISEPS has been forced into liquidation," said Ambassador Heyken, who attended a court hearing on the closure of the institute.
The IISEPS is known in Belarus as a serious institution for the investigation of public opinion and has acquired an excellent reputation. Its publications serve as a reliable and indispensable mechanism to assess Belarusian public opinion in all its diversity.
"The founders of the institute have always attached a great importance to scientific independence and, until the liquidation, a certain freedom from censorship has guaranteed the professional objectivity of the surveys," added Ambassador Heyken.