“Prisoners in activity therapy centers should not be employed but dismissed”
Local executive authorities have received an obligation to assist the activity therapy centers (medical-labor dispensaries, popularly known as LTPs) in the employment of citizens, and open-type correctional institutions have been charged with the employment of prisoners. The decision is ordered by a resolution of the Council of Ministers of 14 August 2015, Interfax reports, citing the press service of the government.
Local executive and administrative bodies will have to provide jobs for the above persons within the territorial units of correctional institutions and LTPs.
The Human Rights Center "Viasna" has analyzed the detention of citizens in penal facilities and monitored detention conditions based on the analysis of regulations and information on the situation of prisoners. Lawyer Pavel Sapelka, an expert in the penitentiary system, has commented on the government’s decision, under which the state will assist in the employment of LTP inmates, noting that “prisoners held in LTPs should not be employed but dismissed, eliminating the system of LTPs and creating an effective system of social rehabilitation instead and utilizing in practice the existing institutions and mechanisms for protecting families from domestic violence.”
“The Ministry of Internal Affairs has been unable to ‘digest’ and employ the army of prisoners, which are held in places of detention, with not all prisoners being able to find job in prison. Now the Ministry of the Interior, having expand the network of LTPs (activity therapy centers), has also addressed ‘labor-based reeducation’ of the people who are forced to work contrary to the Constitution and the international obligations of Belarus. Good news, I guess. Meanwhile, the state has always been expected to deal with the issues of employment of convicts in open-type prisons; it is strange that it has not become a priority until now,” says the expert.
“In the meantime, all this is alco-gulags, but instead of tree cutting and digging canals we have unskilled work without an employment contract, but with tremor when working with ‘unused equipment’. And then we have stories like those that reach “Viasna”: a lathe has been assembled from humanitarian, started somehow, and then it breaks, but as a farewell, a piece of it is imprinted in the prisoner’s head.”
The sending of citizens to medical labor dispensaries in Belarus is often accompanied by violations of the rights and freedoms of individuals, including the use of forced labor.