Belarusians deprived of their last benefits

2007 2007-12-17T14:02:00+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Commutation tickets, benefits for veterans, and cards for free medicines are no longer in force since December 17th. The number of people with benefits for utility payments, health care and communication services has been reduced. Actions in protest of the benefit cuts were organixzed recently in Belarus.

In particular, the following categories of people are deprived of benefits:

- Former prisoners of fascists camps and other places of compulsive keeping will be deprived of rights for free medicines, free dentures making and repair;

- Students will lose the right to use 50 per cent discount tickets for public transport and 50 per cent discount for travel around Belarus from 1 October to 30 June on weekends and holidays;

- Children under 3 years are deprived of the right for free medicine;

- Disabled children are deprived of the right of 50 per cent discount for travel in Belarus;

- Children suffering from end-stage renal failure will lose the right for yearly monetary transport compensation;

- Disabled of the 1st and 2nd groups suffering from radiation disease due to the accident on the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant are deprived of: free prescribed medicines; free travel from residence to hospital; 50 per cent discount for paying for utility service; interest-free loans for building with state repays 50 per cent of loan.

Social benefits remain for heroes, companions of the Order of Glory, Labour Glory, awarded with the Order of State of the third degree, for participants of the war and persons equated to them, for parents of soldier who were killed in the line of duty, for disabled of 1 and 2 groups, for minors who live on radiation pollution territory and for persons suffering from radiation sickness due to the Chernobyl disaster, RFE/RL reports.

Actions in protest of the repeal of benefits took place in Minsk, Homel, Mahiliou and Vitebsk on 16th December. About thousand of applications for holding pickets were sent to city committees, but only some of them were permitted. Nevertheless, the youth took to streets in Minsk.

About 59 youth activists of the civil campaign “Jeans fro Freedom!” organized a flash mob near the National Library afternoons.

Two of the participant with signs “People’s deputy” took away commutation tickets from the queue of students. In return they were given masks with hare’s ears, carrots and cabbage [stowaways are called hares in Belarus]. Guys and girls put on masks and began to eat vegetable. Then they organized circle dances around the fur tree near the National Library.

Then the action participants marched form the library to the metro station “East.” They shouted “No Benefits Cuts!” Passers-by showed their support. The protesters in masks with hare ears went to the station and the action ended. There were no police, and none of the participants of the flash mob was detained.