The fight against "parasitism" - populist measures of the military communism period
Valiantsin Stefanovich called mandates of President Lukashenko to be populist measures of the military communism period. The aims of these mandates are to eradicate "dependency" and "parasitism," he gave them on October 20 at meeting on employment and migration in the country.
During the meeting, attendees of which were the head of the Presidential Administration Andrei Kabiakou, Secretary of the Security Council Alexander Miazhuyeu, Deputy Prime Minister Anatol Tozik, Minister of Education Siarhei Maskevich, Minister of the Interior Ihar Shunevich, Alexander Lukashenko made a number of fairly ambitious statements, about which informed BELTA referring to the press service of the president.
Deputy Head of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" Valiantsin Stefanovich, based on the content of this message, said that in order to solve the problems connected with the labor market in Belarus, which were discussed during the meeting, for some reason are proposed "extremely populist measures that are more common to the times of military communism - it is forced mobilization of labor and forced labor under the threat of sanctions as well as other things of such a kind."
Human rights defender calls to be inappropriate the reference of the head of the State to the practice of Soviet period in every discussion of this problem. "Firstly, it was a completely different time - a communist state, not the state that is building market relations in the field of economy, including in the workplace. Secondly, according to the constitution of the Soviet Union, all citizens were required to work, and thus participate in the construction of the socialist state. Accordingly, persons who refused to work, prosecuted for "parasitism", there was such an article in the Criminal Code. There also were the articles for "vagrancy", "mendicancy". That is, if we want to return to the Soviet practice, the practice of totalitarian communist state, then let's call a spade a spade. "
There is a substitution of notions
It is difficult not to agree with the fact that content of the budget of the Republic of Belarus by the citizens - it is really a problem. The President said that about 400 thousand citizens are not involved in the country's economy, and put the question - at whose salary they live. With such a clumsy formulation of the question, as notice the human rights defender begins substitution of notions. "It is important to see the difference between two things - the right of citizens to work and obligations of citizens to pay taxes in the case of income. These problems are different. If citizens working abroad or working in the country without paying taxes - it is the prerogative of the tax authorities, whose main task is to take some measures to make the people pay taxes and payments to the social fund, and to bring to the statutory responsibilities in proved cases of tax evasion. If we are talking about compulsory labour, it should mentioned that according to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus labor is a citizen's right, not an obligation, "- emphasizes Valiantsin Stefanovich. Separately, he drew attention to the proposals on how to solve the problem of labor of the obligated persons. "How do they work? You are sending them to the system of housing and communal services. Housing workers suffer and constantly complain that obligated persons don’t want to go to work, the police is making them to go there. Why we are not doing further steps? If he is employed, he has to work but not doing it, why don’t we continue to take actions?"- asked Lukashenko at the meeting. Human rights defender also recalled the previous speeches made by the head of the state proposing the creation of labor camps where such citizens will be forced to work.
Moreover, the president supported the initiative of the Ministry of Interior on the adding to the Code of Administrative Offences "provision allowing prosecuting, including the compulsory labour of citizens, who in a certain period of time refuse working intentionally." The President, referring to the Soviet experience, instructed to return to the question of the legal definition of "dependency".
"In this context, when people will be forced to work under the threat of sanctions, it will be fully the definition of "compulsory labour ", which is given in the conventions of the International Labour Organization, and the UN Covenant - the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, social and Cultural Rights ", - says Valiantsin Stefanovich.
The authorities do not listen to the recommendations of the UN
Issue of compulsory labour in Belarus once again came to the attention of the United Nations in connection with the release of the report "Total violation of labor rights and compulsory labour in Belarus", prepared by the International Federation for Human Rights and the Human Rights Center "Viasna". Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the United Nations, having considered the situation in Belarus in November 2013 made conclusions that they are largely duplicate the recommendations contained in the report of human rights defenders. One of the main recommendations of the UN Committee to the Belarusian government is to abandon the use of compulsory labour and to ensure adequate protection of workers' rights.
"As we can see, the government doesn’t listen to the recommendations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the United Nations, the country is working to improve the legal framework for public involvement in compulsory labour, that we consider unacceptable - said Valiantsin Stefanovich. - It is a violation by Belarus of its international obligations under the Covenant, UN and ILO conventions. For our part, we will have to inform the structures of the UN, that Belarus, unfortunately, is moving in this direction. "
According to human rights defender, the question of compulsory labour is also occur during the passage of Belarus in the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review procedure in April 2015.
Besides human rights defender considers it necessary, in the light of the Interior Ministry’s initiatives, to introduce this ministry with the recommendations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the United Nations. The human rights defender also believes that these recommendations should be sent and the Foreign Ministry, which is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the international obligations of the Republic of Belarus.