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Belarus in Focus 2017

BELARUS IN FOCUS 2017 – 7th edition of an international competition for journalists writing about Belarus in international media is accepting articles published between January 1st and December 31st 2017. The deadline for applications is March 15th 2018.

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Torture Victims in Belarus: A Country’s Open Secret

The crowdfunding campaign for Belarusian photographer Max Sarychau was launched. He wants to create a serie of portraits of victims of cruel and degrading punishment in Belarus.


Death Penalty in 2016

Amnesty International published the report on the use of death penalty in 2016. Belarus is the only country in Europe where the death penalty is still possible. It restored executions in April 2016 after a 17-month break. At least four people were executed in the last year.  Death penalty Europe and Central ASIA


“Democratization” in Belarus

Freedom House published annual survey of democratic reforms Nations in Transit 2016. For the first time since the first survey in 1995, there are now more consolidated authoritarian regimes than consolidated democracies. And what is the result of Belarus in this rating? It´s consolidated authoritarian regime with the democratic score 6,61 (1=most democratic, 7=least democratic). The worst-rated category is „Judicial Framework and Independence“ with the worst possible score 7. Even other categories are not rated much better.


Open Letter to the President of the Republic of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenka

Dear Mr. President We, 48 undersigned organizations from 24 countries, strongly condemn the continuing wave of detentions and harassment of peaceful protesters, journalists, human rights defenders, civil society activists, anarchists and opposition party members in Belarus. Most of the detentions and harassment are linked to participation in peaceful protests demanding the cancellation of Presidential Decree […]


Belarus at the crossroads of international relations

The efforts to change the perception of Belarus in the world, to strengthen relations with the West, to receive as much foreign investment to support the weak Belarusian economy as possible, and at the same time not to jeopardize relations with Moscow – these are the most discussed topics in Belarusian international relations in recent months. In the second part of our interview, we had the opportunity to discuss these issues with a leading analyst of the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies, Dzianis Melyantsou.


Belarusian citizens are not ready for reforms

In recent months Belarus has experienced a wide range of internal political and economic changes. In addition, a number of reforms and constitutional amendments still await the country in the future. What will be the impact of these changes on Belarusian politics and society? In the first part of our long conversation, we discussed these and other topics with a leading analyst of the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies, Dzianis Melyantsou.



Belarus in Focus Information Office in partnership with Press Club Belarus announces Belarus in Focus 2016 – 6th edition of an international competition for journalists writing about Belarus in international media.


Statement by representatives of the Belarusian human rights community on the criminal prosecution of Uladzimir Kondrus

According to information received by human rights defenders, on 14 June 2016, Uladzimir Kondrus, a resident of the town of Rudziensk, was taken into custody in jail No. 1 in Minsk. As later confirmed by the Investigative Committee, he is facing charges under Part 2, Art. 293 of the Criminal Code (‘rioting’).


100 Days of Belarusian Rule of Law – Analysis by Libereco

Belarus has its own perception of human rights, states President Aliaksandr Lukashenka; suggesting
its discordance with that of the EU. He argues that he does not object to the EU having its
own understanding: “The European Union is a mature organization with smart people who can
formulate what they want.”


Elections 2015: The end of the opposition, or the beginning of a new era?

Apparently, no other event has divided the Belarusian opposition as did the presidential election that took place on October, 11th. Over the past 20 years, the opposition has managed to survive the split associated with the boycott of the parliamentary elections in 2000, and shown extraordinary discipline in the selection of a single candidate for […]


Sweden is returning to Belarus

On June 25th, Alexander Lukashenko received a letter of credence from the new Ambassador of Sweden to Belarus, Martin Oberg. In a speech to the Ambassador, Lukashenko said that Belarus has always advocated a balanced, positive and pragmatic dialogue with all countries, and that Sweden plays an important role in northern Europe: “Her voice is important in the European Union, and we have never concealed the fact that we have something to learn from Sweden …. Welcome back!”


The right to salary

The situation of the labor market in Belarus is becoming increasingly difficult. On the one hand, if a citizen has not been employed for more than six months, he/she automatically falls under the decree on combating “parasitism”.


Belarus joined the Bologna process

On May 14th, 2015, Belarus formally joined the Bologna Process and the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). The decision was made at the Yerevan Conference of Education Ministers of the EHEA and the Bologna Policy Forum.


Lukashenka refuses to release political prisoners

The traditional pre-election release of political prisoners in Belarus is not likely to happen this time. At least three people will remain behind bars until the end of their term, or may even receive extra punishment. They are: Mikalai Statkevich (former presidential candidate in the 2010 elections), civic activist Yuri Rubtsou, and a representative of anarchist movement, Artsem Prakapenka.


What candidates the Belarusian opposition offers to the voter

At the start of the election season in 2015 the Belarusian opposition presented itself in several groups voicing a number of fundamental issues. Without finding a solution to these issues it was impossible to talk about even a conditional unity among the opposition.


What can be photographed in Belarus?

The Ministry of the Internal Affairs of Belarus suddenly got interested in amateur photographers. Thus, according to the order of the Deputy Minister Myalnichenka of 25/02/2015, police officers have been ordered to pay special attention to anyone who takes pictures of the official buildings. Then each such person should be detained and taken to the police station where the equipment will be checked. Within 3 hours the information about the “incident” should be transmitted directly to the management.


Will small business owners remain in Belarus?

Starting from March 1st, 2015 Belarusian small business owners can cease to exist as a social class.


Analytical review of the human rights situation in Belarus. October-December 2014

Analytical review of the human rights situation in Belarus. October-December 2014 has been published recently. If you want to know more about human rights situation in Belarus at the end of 2014 read this text.


The Belarusian Orthodox Church has decided against its independence?

The Head of the Belarusian Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Pavel, has abandoned the policy of self-government of the Exarchate.


Belarusian Court refuses to admit homophobia

For at least a few months a court proceeding regarding the beating of a homosexual Michail Pischevsky was discussed in Belarus (October 2014 – January 2015).


The price of freedom of speech

On December 2, 2014 a freelance journalist Andrei Myaleshka from Grodno was fined for illegal journalistic activities. Now, according to the decision of the judge Yuri Kazakevich, Myaleshka has to pay the government 6 million rubles (about 450 Euros).


New political sentence in Belarus

An activist from Gomel Yuri Rubtsov must serve a 1,5 years sentence in a correctional facility. This decision was adopted on November 21st by Minsk City Court regarding an appeal to a previous decision of the court of the Soviet district of Minsk.


The tax on unemployment

Belarusian state officials have got a two month deadline from Alexander Lukashenko for the development of a plan to combat “parasitism”. That’s how the long-term unemployed who refuse job offers from the state are suggested to be called nowadays. It was probably in the early 80s when similar terms were used at the highest level […]


“Platforma” is going to visit all prisons and penal colonies in Belarus

On October 6, 2014, the Department for Execution of Judgments of the Ministry of Interior issued a permit for the NGO “Platforma Innovation” to visit penitentiary institutions in Belarus.


Belarus is “fencing off” from Russia?

On September 4, 2014, Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree introducing special border zones in administrative areas at the border with the Russian Federation.


Europe is waiting for the young “volunteers” of Lukashenko?

Belarusian Republican Youth Union is the largest official youth organization in Belarus.


Who will be the single candidate?

A second woman –Alena Anisim –has announced her presidential ambitions in Belarus. The first one was Olga Karach (already in the spring of 2013).


The protector of prisoners was sentenced to three years imprisonment

The head of the human rights organization the Platform, Andrey Bondarenko, was sentenced to three years imprisonment for disorderly conduct.


The Civil War refugee from Congo brought to despair in Akrestsin

The human rights activists draw attention to the inhumane and illegal treatment of foreign citizens, who have been spending months in the Center for Isolation of Delinquents (CID) in Akrestsin before their deportation.