Belarus Country Guide

The Belarus Country Guide was produced by the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) and the Belarus Helsinki Committee (BHC), an was published in September 2016.

The Country Guide is a compilation of publicly available information from international institutions, local NGOs, governmental agencies, businesses, media and universities, among others. International and domestic sources are identified on the basis of their expertise and relevance to the Belarusian context, as well as their timeliness and impartiality.

The survey of publicly available, international sources was originally carried out by DIHR in early 2016 and received strategic input from BHC along the way. It aims to provide a comprehensive overview, on the basis of the information available, of the ways in which companies do or may impact human rights in Belarus. The current Country Guide is not meant as an end product, or a final determination of country conditions. It is intended to be the basis, and the beginning, of a process of dissemination, uptake and modification.

 Read the full Country Guide in English here

 Read the full Country Guide in Russian here

News Feed

Russia: Construction workers face exploitation & labour abuses on World Cup 2018 stadiums; says HRW report

20 Jun 2017

Беларусь: Каждая 16-я вакансия содержит дискриминационные требования, утверждает НПО

23 Jan 2017 — "В Беларуси каждая шестнадцатая вакансия содержит дискриминационные требования – чаще всего это дискриминация по возрасту" Проведенное в Беларуси исследование рынка труда показало, что каждая шестнадцатая вакансия содержит дискриминационные требования, сообщила председатель правления МОО "Гендерные перспективы" Ирина Альховка. "В Беларуси соискатели при поиске работы чаще всего сталкиваются с дискриминацией по возрасту. В 6% всех объявлений о вакансиях были найдены дискриминационные требования по полу, возрасту или внешним данным", - рассказала И.Альховка...Такие данные...получены в ходе исследования рынка труда, проведенного международным общественным объединением "Гендерные перспективы" в конце 2016 года. Всего было проанализировано 5221 объявление о приеме на работу, при этом 315 из них, или 6%, содержали требования дискриминационного характера. Чаще всего – 82% - это были факты дискриминации по возрасту...И.Альховка констатировала, что о равенстве оплаты труда мужчин и женщин говорить пока не приходится.   

Over 1000 human rights defenders killed or harassed in 2016 – new report urges advocates to engage companies more effectively

6 Jan 2017 — "Annual Report on Human Rights Defenders at Risk in 2016", 3 Jan 2017 More than 1000 human rights defenders [HRDs] were killed, harassed, detained, or subjected to smear 2016, Front Line Defenders [FLD] reported...[in] its annual report...282 [HRDs] were murdered in 25 countries, 49 percent of whom were defending land, indigenous and environmental rights. [FLD] found that in the vast majority of cases, killings were preceded by warnings, death threats and intimidation which, when reported to police, were routinely ignored... [The report stresses that] [r]esource-rich lands in South and Central America, Africa and Asia continued to bring extractive industries into conflict with indigenous peoples in projects which are frequently funded by international financial institutions(IFIs) or Western and Chinese-based corporations. A lack of institutionalised human rights-related checks and balances within those institutions, often matched with the complicity or corrupt acquiescence of the concerned government, has led to the intimidation and worse of local people...[The report highlighted] the killing of Berta Cáceres, [stating that the] killing illustrates the limitations of protection when a government is determined to blindly pursue economic interests and ignore growing social tensions in communities affected by large scale projects [and] shows the need for those supportive of HRDs to engage governments and corporations in a more robust, sustained and effective way... In addition to killings, over half of the cases reported...concerned criminalisation...“the first choice of governments to silence defenders and to dissuade others.” [Refers to FMO, Finnfund and Mineral Commodities (MRC)]. 

Belarus Country Guide on Human Rights and Business

3 Oct 2016 — "Human Rights and Business Country Guide: Belarus" ...The Human Rights and Business Country Guide provides country-specific guidance to help companies respect human rights and contribute to development. For companies to manage their potential human rights impacts, they must have comprehensive information about the local human rights context in which they operate. The Country Guide provides a systematic overview of the human rights issues that companies should be particularly aware of. For each issue, it provides guidance for companies on how to ensure respect for human rights in their operations or in collaboration with suppliers and other business partners. The Country Guide is not only a resource, but a process...The aim of this Guide is to improve the human rights practices of companies, including through facts-based dialogue regarding the issues presented here.

Les droits des travailleuses et des travailleurs affaiblis presque partout dans le monde en 2016, selon la Confédération Syndicale Internationale

27 Sep 2016 — (Crédit photo : Confédération Syndicale Internationale)

Belarus: Telecoms companies facilitate secret govt. surveillance by providing access to customer communications and data, says new report; includes company comments

26 Jul 2016

Belarus uses telecoms firms to stifle dissent

26 Jul 2016 — Belarus authorities are using phone networks run by some of the world’s biggest telecoms companies to stifle free speech and dissent, said Amnesty International in a report...The report, It’s enough for people to feel it exists: Civil society, secrecy and surveillance in Belarus, documents how potentially limitless, round-the-clock, unchecked surveillance has a debilitating effect on NGO activists, making basic work, like arranging a meeting over the phone, a risk.Telecoms companies, including ones owned by Telekom Austria Group and Turkcell, allow this to happen by granting the government nearly unlimited access to their customers’ communications and data. Operating in Belarus requires giving authorities remote-control access to all their users’ phone and internet communications...Belarusian law obliges companies to make their networks compatible with a technical system, SORM (an acronym that translates to “Hardware System for Search Operations”) that gives authorities access to communications without even asking or telling the operator. [also refers to América Móvil, Life:), Teliasonera, MTS and Beltelecom]

Беларусь: Телекоммуникационные провайдеры способствуют слежке властей, предоставляя им прямой доступ к данным своих клиентов, говорится в отчете

26 Jul 2016 — «Достаточно осознавать, что она есть»: гражданское общество, секретность и слежка в Беларуси Правовая база, регулирующая порядок негласного наблюдения в Беларуси, характеризуется отсутствием соответствующих гарантий безопасности, и позволяет властям осуществлять широкомасштабную слежку практически без всякого обоснования. И хотя фактически любой человек может стать объектом слежки,почти невозможно узнать, ведётся ли за ним слежка сейчас, или она велась ранее. Подобная неопределённость оказывает сковывающий эффект на правозащитников, оппозиционных политиков, юристов и активистов, и ограничивает их возможности в реализации своих прав, в том числе права нанеприкосновенность частной жизни, свободу объединений, свободу мирных собраний и свободу выражения мнений...Этой противоречивой системе слежения оказывают содействие корпоративные игроки, такие как операторы мобильной связи и интернет-провайдеры, которые – в соответствии с белорусским законодательством – обязаны предоставлять властям прямой доступ к данным своих клиентов...Amnesty отправила...просьбы предоставить информацию мобильным провайдерам Life, МТС (Беларусь) и Velcom, а также в их материнские компании Telekom Austria Group, América Móvil, Teliasonera и Turkcell. Мы также написали в «Белтелеком» и в социальную сеть «ВКонтакте». Мы получили ответы из Teliasonera и Telekom Austria Group, и провели телефонные переговоры с представителями Telekom Austria Group. Ответы, которые мы получили, отражены в соответствующих разделах доклада.

MTS did not respond

26 Jul 2016

"It’s enough for people to feel it exists": Civil society, secrecy and surveillance in Belarus - report

26 Jul 2016 — The legal framework governing secret surveillance in Belarus is characterized by inadequate safeguards, and allows the authorities to undertake wide-ranging surveillance with little or no justification. While it is possible that almost anyone could be subject to surveillance, it is nearly impossible for anyone to know whether they are or have been. This uncertainty exerts a chilling effect on human rights defenders, opposition politicians, lawyers and activists, and limits their ability to exercise their human rights, including the rights to privacy, freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression...This problematic surveillance system is facilitated by corporate actors, such as mobile telephone or internet providers, who – according to Belarusian law – are required to allow the authorities direct access to their customers’ data...Amnesty...sought information from mobile providers Life, MTS (Belarus) and Velcom, as well as their parent companies Telekom Austria Group, América Móvil, Teliasonera and Turkcell. We also wrote to Beltelecom and to the social network VK. We received replies from Teliasonera and Telekom Austria Group, and met by phone with representatives from Telekom Austria Group. The responses we received are reflected in the report where relevant.