Belarus Government – Ibelarus Fri, 24 Sep 2021 15:55:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Belarus Government – Ibelarus 32 32 Human rights in Belarus continue downward spiral, warns Bachelet | Fri, 24 Sep 2021 15:55:58 +0000

Gender-based violence is of grave concern as around 30 percent of those arbitrarily detained are reported to have been women and girls. Michelle Bachelet told that Human Rights Council in genf.

Freedoms under attack

Since the controversial re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko in August last year, the fundamental freedoms have been severely restricted, said Bachelet.

She highlighted ongoing police raids against civil society groups and independent media, as well as the politically motivated arrests and prosecutions of activists and journalists.

More than 650 people are said to be imprisoned for their opinions – including the head of the well-known human rights group Viasna.

Suppression of disagreements

Ms. Bachelet noted that the main goal of the Belarusian authorities was to suppress criticism and dissenting views of government policy, and not to protect human rights.

She added that she regretted that the request to meet the Belarusian ambassador had been denied, which prevented a working visit to the country.

The UN chief of law said 27 journalists and media workers were in custody until August 10, including well-known blogger Roman Protasevich, who was arrested with his Russian partner in May after his flight from Greece to Lithuania was diverted to Belarus which sparked worldwide condemnation.

Belarusian answer

In response to statements in the Council, Belarus said that its government had restored order in the country and that “people were working and leading their normal lives”.

It insisted that the actions of the Belarusian authorities are aimed at maintaining order and protecting the rights of all citizens.

He reiterated his opposition to Resolution 46/2, which condemned “ongoing serious human rights violations in Belarus”, and stated that the government’s position had been ignored and that the main goal of the protests was a revolutionary change of power.

Appeal for country access

Ms. Bachelet said at the meeting that the council could consider a number of accountability measures, but only 50 percent of the funds available for the mandate had been approved.

She said she hoped this would increase in 2022. The UN head of law also stressed that direct access to land is important, for example for physical access to prisons. However, she noted that “much could be achieved without physical access”.

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Iraqi migrant dies near border with Belarus, death toll up to 5 Fri, 24 Sep 2021 11:45:05 +0000

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – An Iraqi migrant died near Poland’s border with Belarus and another was hospitalized with COVID-19, Polish border guards said on Friday.

The fatality brings the death toll to five among migrants attempting to get from Belarus through an area of ​​dense forests and bogs to EU member states Poland and Lithuania.

The Iraqi migrant died despite efforts to resuscitate him. Polish officials have attributed the previous deaths to hypothermia and exhaustion.

Border guards posted on her Twitter account that one of a group of Iraqi migrants arrested about 500 meters from the border with Belarus within Poland has died of a likely heart attack.

The other migrant was rushed to hospital after testing positive for a COVID-19 test.

Human rights organizations deal with the plight of migrants – mainly from Iraq and Afghanistan – trying to get into the EU.

Two United Nations agencies have asked for access to asylum seekers stranded on the Belarusian border with Poland and Lithuania. Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson and other officials are planning a visit shortly to assess the situation at the border.

A spokesman for the EU Commission, Adalbert Jahnz, said on Friday that it was “imperative that Poland perform the tasks of border protection effectively”, but also called on the authorities to “ensure that the people at the border take the necessary care and help obtain. ”

Poland’s government insists that its main task is to protect the border against the influx of migrants and accuses the Moscow-backed Belarusian government of organizing it.

Warsaw has so far ignored EU proposals that the bloc’s border and coast guard, Frontex, help guard the border.

Jahnz said it was the Commission’s view that using Frontex at the border would be “a very good idea” but that it was up to Poland to request it.

Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller said that using Frontex would not change the situation and that the Polish armed forces are doing their job well.

The Polish and Lithuanian governments have imposed a state of emergency on 1 kilometer wide strips along their border with Belarus, denying entry to everyone except border guards, the military and security services. They also build barbed wire fences along their border with Belarus.

Poland and Lithuania have welcomed an unusual number of Middle East and African migrants and refugees arriving from Belarus in recent months. The influx of migrants began after Western countries imposed sanctions on Lukashenko’s government for the country’s controversial presidential election in August 2020 and crackdown on the opposition.


Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed to this.

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No Regrets: One Woman in White’s Exiled Story Thu, 23 Sep 2021 20:42:20 +0000

Anastasia Kostyugova, a 29-year-old marketing specialist from Minsk who co-founded the Women in White civic movement, is in Washington on September 23rd to receive the Jeane Kirkpatrick Award from the International Republication Institute. (Photo: Courtesy)

“At first I didn’t think of getting rid of it [Alyaksandr Lukashenka] would take so long ”, Anastasia Kostyugova admits. She is a co-founder of the Women in White movement, a civic movement in Belarus that catalyzed the fraudulent 2020 presidential election in Belarus.

It has been more than a year since elections were held in Belarus that sparked a political crisis that threatened the legitimacy of the regime. Lukashenka, the longtime authoritarian leader, expected an easy win, but after severe economic mismanagement and the COVID crisis, the country rebelled when he tried to steal the race. For the first time women confronted the mustached misogynist and organized photogenic marches with thousands of women in white marching peacefully, holding flowers and smiling.

Lukashenka imprisoned his male candidates and made a grave assessment error by allowing Svitalana Tsikhanouskya, a resident mother of two and a former English teacher, to enroll. Lukashenka never thought that Belarusians would band together around a woman.

They did and they did. Tsikhanouskya and two other women became the face of the democratic movement that gripped the country and sparked the greatest political crisis Lukashenka has ever experienced.

On Saturdays in autumn 2020, from August to mid-November, women took to the streets in white. On Sundays the crowds were bigger and a mix of men, women and children. These were the first women-led marches. “It wasn’t a matter of course in the past,” says Kostyugova.

But then the security forces started extreme violence against women and put them in jail. In the past, women were not allowed to be beaten. Today only a few brave souls walk through the streets of Minsk with white umbrellas every two weeks.

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Kostyugova, a likable and energetic 29-year-old marketing specialist from Minsk, is in Washington on September 23rd to receive the Jeane Kirkpatrick Prize from the International Republication Institute. She also works in the office of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskya, the opposition leader.

Kostyugova has no regrets, despite the high price she paid for her activism. “I lost my family. I lost my apartment. I still have my life and my freedom, and that’s more than enough, ”she says.

Kostyugova is one of hundreds of thousands of Belarusians who have fled their country since 2020. “My mother is in prison. I am in exile. I did not expect this. But without [this suffering], we did not understand the value of human rights and democracy, ”confirms Kostyugova.

Kostyugova is no ordinary PR specialist. She is the daughter of Valeria Kostyugova, a political analyst who imprisoned in June 2020 for interviews and Anatoly Pankovsky. Together, her parents have created some of the best analytical websites and publications on politics in the country.

Valeria was taken into custody in the middle of the night after an interview. She has been charged with conspiracy or other acts to conquer state power and face up to 12 years in prison. Lukashenka’s regime doesn’t mess around. You recently sentenced Opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova was imprisoned for eleven years.

Prior to the 2020 presidential election, Anastasia was an ordinary young professional working her way up in the marketing industry despite considering herself a feminist. “I’m a feminist, but you’re a freak in this country.” The F-word has a negative connotation for many in Belarus.

She quickly left Minsk in September 2020 after security services showed up at her work, home and her grandfather’s house. She was hiding in a friend’s apartment, but left Minsk immediately after these visits. There was no time to pack. Arriving at the Lithuanian border by car without a visa, she crossed three hours later on a 20-day humanitarian visa and began her life in exile.

Women in White has since shifted its efforts online. “It’s all underground now because [the situation] is very dangerous, ”she says. Ordinary people were arrested for simply wearing red, the color of the democratic movement.

The initiative targets women who support the regime. “They don’t know that there is anything better,” says Kostyugova with a smile. They want to reach judges and police wives. The initiative has roughly 20,000 subscribers, but it’s a far cry from the hundreds of thousands of women who participated in last year’s marches.

Kostyugova is baffled, and says efforts are focused on turning educational content about human rights, democracy, feminism (without the F-word), and domestic violence into engaging social media content.

This summer the regime practically shut down independent media outlets or forced them to redirect their political coverage to anodyne topics such as astrology and the weather.

Telegram, the once popular method of organizing democratic forces, is losing its audience. Instead, people, including ordinary factory workers, are switching to YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.

Kostyugova insists that despite the tiny crowd and the fact that the opposition leader is in exile, the democratic movement is not over yet. “This system cannot survive 10 years,” she says, arguing that the regime is running out of money. For example, police officers are entitled to vacate apartments from the government and funds are no longer sufficient for these apartments.

Kostyugova is not blind to the enormous challenges that lie ahead. Massive street protests are unlikely given the price the middle class paid last year; Thousands lost their businesses and moved abroad. When the regime looked fragile that summer, the factory workers never broke with the regime and Lukashenka was left sitting.

“He knows that everyone is fed up with him,” she says, but the question of who will come after him is harder to answer.

Analyst Katia Glod thinks that Russia will try to replace Lukashenka slowly and without formal annexation, and that time is on Moscow’s side. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lukashenka met five times in Moscow this year to discuss an integration agreement between the two countries, financial aid, military cooperation and constitutional reform. Putin wants an indulgent leader in Minsk, and Lukashenka is anything but that, and he’s short of money, and the fourth package of sanctions should start stabbing this winter. Lukashenka’s options could run out.

But for now the old farm boss is still in charge, even if he is no longer legitimate and widely despised. “It’s not about loyalty. It’s about fear, ”says Kostyugova.

Melinda Haring is Associate Director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. She tweeted @melindaharing.

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]]> 0 Belarus is developing a national anti-corruption strategy by 2030 Thu, 23 Sep 2021 10:19:00 +0000

Andrei Shved. Photo courtesy of the Prosecutor General of Belarus

MINSK, September 23 (BelTA) – In Belarus, work on the National Anti-Corruption Strategy is ongoing until 2030, Prosecutor General Andrei Shved said at the 31st meeting of the Coordination Council of CIS Prosecutors General in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, BelTA informed, citing the department for interaction with mass media and editorial work for the Attorney General.

Andrei Shved reported on the anti-corruption efforts of Belarus and the work on the development of the national anti-corruption strategy.

“Our efforts to fight corruption are rated positively at home and abroad. Since the anti-corruption law was passed, our country has moved up in Transparency International’s annual ranking from 106th in 2015 to 63rd in 2020. At the same time, an ambitious task was set to develop the national anti-corruption strategy for the period up to 2030 ”, said Andrei Shved.

The strategy is drawn up by the Science and Practice Center for Problems of Strengthening Law and Order of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Belarus. The Prosecutor General noted that the strategy will include best international practices and standards to ensure a systematic and comprehensive fight against corruption by eliminating its root causes and conditions.

According to him, Belarus regards corruption as one of the threats to national security. Therefore, combating these social ills is one of the government‘s priorities. In this regard, Andrei Shved revealed some results of the Anti-Corruption Program 2020-2022, as well as legislative initiatives prepared by the Attorney General’s Office.

In the past year, 754 inspections were carried out to verify compliance with anti-corruption laws. As a result, 1,853 orders to remedy violations were issued. A total of 3,535 perpetrators were identified, and damages of US $ 177,000 were reimbursed. The public prosecutor found 2,226 violations of anti-corruption laws.

Property acquired through corrupt behavior will be confiscated. In 2020 alone, illegally acquired property valued at US $ 500,000 was confiscated in civil proceedings on the orders of the prosecutor.

The participants of the meeting discussed the experiences of the public prosecutor’s offices of the CIS states in the supervision of public prosecutors and another 15 items on the agenda. As a result, they reaffirmed their commitment to promoting collaboration.

The event was attended by Prosecutors General of Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Armenia, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan, representatives of the Secretariat of the Coordinating Council and the CIS Executive Committee. Guests of honor included Cheol-kyu Hwang, President of the International Association of Prosecutors.

Andrei Shved also held a working meeting with the Belarusian ambassador to Kazakhstan, Pavel Utyupin. They discussed cooperation between the economic entities of the two states, including foreign trade and the expansion of the goods distribution network of Belarusian companies in Kazakhstan.

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Iran, Cuba and Belarus embrace Bitcoin. What should banks do in the event of sanctions? Wed, 22 Sep 2021 14:16:56 +0000

The financial crime and compliance expert Daniel Wager answered questions from major banks about cryptocurrencies with his own questions.