International organization “Universal campaign for the freedom of speech” ARTICLE-19 raises concerns over the Council of Republic’s approval on October 2, 2002 of the new law “On the freedom of faith and religious organizations”. In a letter to Alexander Lukashenko ARTICLE-19 calls on the government of Belarus to amend the draft law by removing from it article 26 (except provision 1), as well as create conditions for the religious organizations to be able to freely express their viewpoints and convictions without fear of persecution.
Entrepreneurial protest is being upheld by the majority of Belarusians – 67,4% of the population. Meantime, 43,2% of the Belarusian residents deem that during the period of his rule Alexander Lukashenko only intensified state’s lawlessness and arbitrariness. By a face-to-face method the NISEPI sociologists surveyed 1509 respondents. Following come the results of the September poll, which was conducted by NISEPI and which hasn’t been allocated on our site before.
United States Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) today stated his "immense concern for the future of religious freedom in Belarus" after the passage by the Belarusian parliament of a restrictive religion law. Passage of the law comes two months after Belarus authorities plowed through a newly built church with a bulldozer.
October 5 Alexander Lukashenko listened to the reports of the state secretary of the Security Council Gennady Nevyglas, chairman of the committee for state control Anatoly Tozik, prosecutor general Viktor Sheiman and some other high-ranking law-enforcement officials. The particular attention was paid to the criminal cases, touching upon the illicit activities of some commercial structures in the Gomel region.
Radio “Unistar’s” journalist Yana Kamenskaya has been told to file in a freewill resignation for having voiced on radio information, which Lukashenko’s administration didn’t like. The basis for their dismissal was the information about the unification congress of the two Belarusian youth unions.
On October 2 “the Council of the Republic” approved the draft law “On the freedom of faith and religious organizations”. Within the next 10 days the law has to be signed by the president. Last Friday representatives of the civil initiative “For the freedom of faith” called on Alexander Lukashenko to send the law for additional revision and remove the contradictory provisions, which, according to them, may well split the Belarusian society.
Alexander Zimovsky was appointed new director general of the TV channel “Capital’s TV” (CTV), replacing at the post his predecessor Grigory Novikov. Zimovsky was promoted to the post by the personal order of Alexander Lukashenko, who called CTV “the third national channel”. Novikov became the director general of the “Minsk-news” agency. Former deputy chairman of the Belarusian Television and Radio Company Zimovsky will today be presented to the new personnel.
The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry passed over diplomatic notes to the embassies of Russia and Belarus, informing them about the last week’s decision to denounce the temporary agreements on visa-free travels.