Government Sells the Right to Leave the Country
The Constitutional Court started to consider the case of a passport stamp that allows Belarusians to leave abroad.
According to the Constitutional Court ruling of 27 September 2002, the Council of Ministers was to create by 31 December a registration system that allows the Belarusians to leave abroad without a stamp in the passport. However, the Belarusian government appealed to the Constitutional Court requesting that the deadlines be prolonged. The reason is that the governmental structures have not created a special system of registration.
On 19 September the Constitutional Court started to consider the "permissive" stamp issue. The case was initiated by the Constitutional Court in 2002 after the opposition group Respublika of the Chamber of Representatives had tabled such a proposal. However, none of the group members were elected to the new Chamber, so Iury Kulakouski, the chair of the deputy commission for human rights, appeared in the proceedings. He said that the governmental agencies have virtually done nothing to implement the court ruling: "I see that this issue is basically at the same level as three years ago. So I proposed the term be continued".
In his speech the representative of the Secretariat of the Council of the Republic Aliaxandr Filanovich reminded that last year almost 350 thousand people received a stamp in the passport and paid a total of more than 9 billion rubles. According to Mr. Filanovich, this money is a third more than is required for a registration system. What we have as a result is that the government sells the right to leave abroad, and sells this right at a price that is three times as high as is economically justified. This is economic limitation of the citizens' rights.