New offence on negligent parents

2009 2009-05-04T20:54:32+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The Ministry of Internal Affairs proposes to introduce amendments to presidential decree #18 with the aim to increase the responsibility of parents who evade from paying alimonies. 

As stated by the head of the MIA prophylaxis department Mikalai Drozd, the initiative concerns establishment of administrative responsibility for the persons who evade from the given jobs, which in addition don’t provide the opportunity for reimbursement of the sum, specified by the court. Such persons will be sentenced to administrative arrest with obligatory drawing to labor.

Another proposal of the MIA is legalization of detention of such persons for 72 hours (not for three hours, as other citizens). According to Mr. Drozd, it is connected to the fact that police officers from the places where such persons dwell must work with them, which is impossible to do quickly in the cases when the people are detained far from the place of residence registration.

The principle ‘human rights are not equal for everyone’, born on the top of the Belarusian power Olympus, evidently acts in Belarus. As we have already informed, in November 2008, at the council dedicated to implementation of decree #18, the president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenka stated that human rights are not spread on negligent parents: ‘The methods who are applied to them must differ from those used towards common people’.

In his interview to the Belorusskiye Novosti one of the initiators of creation of the human rights NGO Nasha Viasna, human rights activist Valiantsin Stefanovich emphasized that the practice when human rights become a prerogative of a certain part of the society or some part is deprived of the rights, is getting more and more widespread in Belarus. According to Mr. Stefanovich, it’s a high time the authorities realized that ‘human rights belong to everybody and no one can decide that some part of the society can be deprived of them’.

Valiantsin Stefanovich drew an example when human rights are violated – ‘forced withdrawal of the persons who abuse alcohol and are anti-social, from the territory, adjacent to the places of trade with subsequent holding of informational-prophylactic measures with them’. Such action was held in Minsk in the beginning of the year. V.Stefanovich emphasized that in this case the police detained the people who did not violate law and order, and it is unlawful detention from the juridical point of view.

‘I support the concern of the state with alcoholization of the population’, says V.Stefanovich. ‘But there are different anti-alcohol practices in different parts of the world, which could be partially applied in our country. I am speaking, for instance, about restriction of the sale of alcoholic beverages on days off, as it is done in Sweden. In the case alcohol was not sold to children in our country, we could also discuss the increase of the age census for their purchase to 21 years.’

In our country the authorities are trying to forcedly deprive negligent parents from drinks, bring them to labor camps, etc. However, it is still a problem to make them work. At present there are about 13 000 people registered at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who need to reimburse to the state the expenses for upbringing of their children. The level of reimbursement is 37%. Two years ago it was not more than 6%.

As stated by Drozd, despite the crisis there are no problems with ‘forced employment’ – places for such workers are reserved. At the same time, he says that there facts of discontent in the collectives where many such people work.

According to M.Drozd, 70% of the 800 women, who are kept in the activity therapy centers, belong to the category of negligent parents. Speaking about the problems, connected with earning of money by negligent parents, the official pointed that many of them had lost their jobs and sometimes at least six months are spent on their training.

What concerns the initiative of establishment of labor brigades from negligent parents, M.Drozd stated that the most important question is the guarding of such brigades. If people don’t want to work, it is very difficult to make them work – ‘we take them to work, but as soon as the guards go away, they stop working.’

Valiantsin Stefanovich states: ‘People can be made to work against their will, but only for a short time, and the effectiveness of such labor (and accordingly, the extent of compensation for the state upbringing of their children) is disputable. Here we again face with deprivation of liberty, not connected with criminal persecution’.

Nowadays we cannot be guided by the principles that belong to repressive regimes. The very possibility of aggressive struggle of the state against negligent parents up to forced sterilization (such ideas were voiced at the Belarusian Parliament of the previous convocation) is a dangerous tendency in the society.

Doubtlessly, it is necessary to take away children from such parents, when the former ones are in socially dangerous situation. But it must happen on court verdict, not on the basis of a presidential decree. Besides, by taking the children away, the state already punishes their parents. To my mind, one can try getting a complete compensation of expenditures for the state upbringing of the children from their parents ad infinitum, but still can get nothing as a result.’