2016 24/03

Administrative punishments for exercising right to peaceful assembly and expression of opinion in Belarus continues.

They are implemented through fiscal mechanisms of penal sanctions and targeted economic persecution of the organizers (activists) of “unauthorized mass events” – “peaceful meetings”.

This indicates “not understanding” by the representatives of the Government of Belarus (member country of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ICCPR) the essentially universal and recognized international law (Article 21 and ar.19…ICCPR), the corresponding provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus ( Art. 35 and 33 …, Article 23), its international obligations under the unconditional and faithful execution of the law set in the international treaties (ICCPR, its Optional protocol, the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties…), as well as the relevant conclusions and regulations of the United Nations Human Rights Committee (also see General comment №33 UNHRC) expressed in numerous decisions regarding this unlawful practice of the authorities in Belarus.

For nearly 20 years instead of a moratorium on the “death penalty” an “unofficial moratorium” on fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens of Belarus, on their full and inalienable “civil status” has been operating in the country!

This “unofficial ban” is directed against the unconditional and constitutionally execution of the Basic Law guaranteed by the state (!) at the part of it, which directly contains the marked international human rights standards for each resident, for each citizen of the Republic of Belarus.

For example, considering right to “peaceful assembly”, Art. 35 of the Constitution of Belarus literally provides the following:

  • Freedom of assembly, rallies, marches, demonstrations and picketing, which do not violate the rule of law and the rights of other citizens of the Republic of Belarus, shall be guaranteed by the state. The order of these events is to be provided by the law.

However, neither this provision nor the similar provisions, fully implemented from the international treaty mentioned above to the Constitution, does not work for us, for our citizens, the citizens of Belarus.

Thus, in practice, in Belarus the legal “citizen status” is specifically and consistently undermined by the state!

Thus, a citizen is inherently transformed into a “farm servant” deprived of his/her basic civil rights and freedoms in the conditions of a prevailing in the country system of clan-oligarchic “state capitalism” and the corrupted from the top to the bottom authoritarian command “vertical power”.

  • In the conditions where basic civil rights and freedoms are (authorized and fully purposefully) violated by the authorities and people continue to be taxed and penalties from all sides… we can observe a genuine anti-constitutional aims and nature of the ruling regime in Belarus.

This practice of fines is contrary to the constitutional and international norms, payment only for the opportunity to realize the inalienable constitutional right – the latter norms are even contradictory to the current law of “local order of holding mass events”, the form of “mandatory fee agreements with the militia, medical” and utility services as “conditions” of the guaranteed by the Constitution of peaceful assembly (!?) is a legal nonsense and obvious (absolutely conscious or deliberately legalized that way) criminal practices that directly aim and act against set in the Basic Law “constitutional order”, international obligations of Belarus on human rights, and as a result – against every citizen and all the hard-working, law-abiding people of Belarus, against Belarus and its statehood.


Systematic violations of human rights and freedoms in Belarus by the authorities are undermining the constitutional legality and the rule of law.

Purposefulness of such unlawful actions of the authorities in such cases are revealed by the fact that even in the presence of clear conclusions in Decisions of UNCHR on Belarus in the relevant precedent cases (for example, see. decision “Palakou vs. Belarus”, en.), under the control of the “vertical power” courts (not mentioning the Prosecutor’s office), high and responsible for the implementation of international obligations public institutions (such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus) openly refuse to recognize violations and continue to practice restrictions, prohibitions, fines or completely illegal coercive extortions, lawless according to the norms of the Constitution and ICCPR…

State officials of high rank in these conditions behave like vicious offenders who refuse to comply with judicial decisions and continue to violate the rights of citizens.

However, the duty of every self-respecting government and its people (not to mention its democratic character and legal status) is not suppression or restriction of citizens’ initiative, constitutional rights and freedoms, but quite the contrary.

It is the state (its relevant administrative and law enforcement agencies and institutions) should ensure proper conditions for the implementation by every citizen of his/her guaranteed universally recognized and inalienable rights set in the Constitution and international treaties.

Alaksiej Łapicki
for the Belarusian Legal Portal

Photo: AlLapicki, Lićviny-INFA (2012)

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