Picks of the Week
The Lieninski District Court in Brest continued to convict persons involved in an environmental protest held on October 14, when a dozen people were arrested for protesting against the construction of a car battery factory.
On October 22, the court fined four more protesters. The trial of human rights lawyer Raman Kisliak, who was arrested during the protest, has been once again rescheduled, after the judge ordered to review the charges.
Local authorities across Belarus are blatantly negligent of the minimum labor rights standards, as thousands of government employees continue to be involved in unpaid agricultural work.
Recent examples include reports from the Voranava district, Hrodna region, where 90 office clerks, teachers and community workers “cheerfully picked potatoes” to help local state-owned farms. More complaints are coming from Minsk district. School teachers are reportedly forced to labor in the fields four consecutive Saturdays in October, according to an anonymous message.
Meanwhile, executive officials do nor deny the fact, saying the work is not forced labor, but “assistance”.
“We welcome Dzmitry’s release, but we want to stress that in the first place he should not have been deprived of freedom,” Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said.