The Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Council, which assembled in Geneva on September 27 once again raised serious concerns over the problem of disappearances of the regime’s political opponents in Belarus. Following you may read the full text of the IPU statement.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Council welcomed the release on parole of the former Supreme Soviet deputy, businessman Andrei Klimov, recognized by the international human rights organizations as a prisoner of conscience. Read below the full transcript of their statement on Klimov:
Belarusian senators made a show out of the opening session of the upper house. The Council of the Republic almost unanimously (46 for, 2 – against) passed the law, which has already wreaked havoc among the believers and non-believers alike. Anyone, who thinks independently and intelligently, is insulted by the amended version of the law “On the freedom of faith and religious organizations”, which elevates the Russian Orthodox church above the rest, while other confessions are ousted to the periphery of religious life.
The delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, led by the country’s Minister of trade Mohammed Shariatmadari arrived on Wednesday in Minsk with an official visit. “Media-fact” reports that their visit will last until October 5. The delegates will engage in the work of the 5th session of the Belarusian-Iranian commission on trade-economic cooperation.
The condition of the military and military-technical cooperation between Russia and Belarus, as well as the perspectives of the interaction in these spheres came to the spotlight of attention during the visit to Belarus by the chairman of the Russian Committee for military-technical cooperation with foreign states, deputy Defense Minister of Russia Mikhail Dmitriev, “Interfax” quotes sources in the Belarusian Defense Ministry as saying on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day the administrator of the “New Life” church Vasil Yurevich held his picket opposite the parliament. He raised banner with the words of protest against the odious draft law “On the freedom of conscience and religious organizations”, considered in the “council of the republic” this morning. Half an hour later the believer was detained by police and driven to the Moskovsky district court of Minsk, which reprimanded him. Yurevich commented on the incident in the following way: “This law is a shame to our country. Its passage opens the gateway to lawlessness. So, I determined to protest against it on my own”. The law, as you know, enjoyed almost a unanimous “yes” vote.
PACE has at last passed its resolution on Belarus, so long waited for. The CoE Parliamentary Assembly unanimously (with only one abstainer) confessed that the present-day situation in Belarus doesn’t allow them to think of the possible Belarus’ accession to this European organization. May be later, when normal democracy spreads there, the Bureau of the Assembly will return to the restoration of the special guest status for Belarus. However, this is unlikely to happen with the current regime gripping the power so tightly.
Around 150thsd market retailers countrywide have stepped up their strike on October 1. The protesters declare that they will no longer pay taxes into the budget. As is known, as a result of this decision by the entrepreneurs, the budget got underpaid some $12mln in taxes (in total the Belarusian entrepreneurs pay an average of $20mln a month). Most of the Belarusian fairs were shut on Tuesday. Most massive wave of protest is launched by the entrepreneurs of the Grodno and Brest regions. In Minsk they stopped working at the “Dynamo”, “Chervensky”, “Tractor” marketplaces, fairs “Parking”, “Palace of sport”, “Kupalovsky”, “Olymp” and some other. The strike was organized by the striking committee of entrepreneurs parallel to the United Council of businessmen. October 1 evening at the Bangalor square in Minsk representatives of the United Council of businessmen went for an unsanctioned rally. Despite the heavy shower, the action attracted over 1,5thsd people.
At the October 2 first assembly of the autumn session the “council of republic” will look into the new draft law “On the freedom of conscience and religious organizations”, approved on June 27 in the second hearing by the “house of representatives”.
Another trial over the independent newspaper is commencing today. On October 2 the Okryabrsky district court of Minsk will embark on the consideration of lawsuit of the senior procuracy detective Terekhovich to the editorial board of the “Belorusskaya delovaya gazeta” and personally journalist Irina Makovetskaya over the defamation of honor, dignity and business reputation of a responsible official.
Chairman of the United Civil Party Anatoly Lebedko and his deputy Yaroslav Romanchuk were subject to a thorough search Monday night in the Minsk airport. The UCP leaders were returning from the PACE session in Strasbourg and the 4th Conference of right-wing and central parties in Prague. The procedure was opened by the checking of personal stuff and lasted for more than an hour. Customs officers were working under the supervision of some strange plain-clothed agents. At first, they sorted out all information carriers, including the issues of the popular French newspaper “Le Monde”. Then they seized a portable computer from Yaroslav Romanchuk and diskettes – from Anatoly Lebedko. They filed protocols on the matter of seizure.
October 2 will see the opening of the autumn session of the “house of representatives” (alongside with the session of the upper chamber). The deputies didn’t waste time in vain: they have prepared for final consideration about nine dozens draft laws, many of which will see their second reading. Moreover, they are supposed to pass the budget of the country for the year to come.
Belarus won’t be able to protect Europe from the infiltration of illegal immigrants if by January 1 next year the expenses for that don’t get compensated to the Belarusian side. RIA “Novosti” quote Alexander Lukashenko as saying that during his meeting with the frontier troops brass. “The West wants to get best of us, utilizing our material resources and manpower. They want us to defend them but don’t offer anything in exchange. Our expenses don’t get reimbursed by Europe,” – said Lukashenko, noting that “if the western partners and colleagues want Belarus to change the situation in this area, they should pay”.
“Russia is not always ready to take into account the interests of Belarus in the negotiations on Russia’s possible accession to the World Trade Organization”, said in an interview to “Interfax” head of the WTO department for the coordination of foreign economic activities of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry Anton Kudasov.