Under its constitution, the Republic of Belarus has a directly elected president and a bicameral National Assembly. However, since his election in 1994 as president, Alexander Lukashenko has systematically undermined the country`s democratic institutions and concentrated power in the executive branch through authoritarian means, flawed referenda, fraudulent elections, and arbitrary decrees. Presidential elections on March 19 that declared Lukashenko president for a third consecutive term failed to meet international standards for democratic elections. The government`s human rights record remained very poor and worsened in some areas as the government continued to commit frequent and serious abuses.
There are reports on internet according to which the first Belarusian plane Il-76 EW-78826 belonging to the state-run Transaviaexport company shot down in Somalia, was transporting not a humanitarian cargo, but infantry fighting vehicles for Ugandan troops. “A missile hit between chassis, penetrated the fuselage and hit the infantry fighting vehicle. It exploded. Engineers and loadmasters were saved by that armoured fighting vehicle. Otherwise they would be wounded by the blast and cut splinters… they were lucky and landed the plane…” an anonymous pilot informed.
The Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus leadership has instructed directors of enterprises to be guided by the adopted by the FTUB Presidium procedure of extending provisions of the collective agreement on workers on behalf of whom it has not been concluded.
At 8 p.m. on 31 March in Astrouski Street in Orsha Siarhei Huminski was stopped by the police, who asked him to open his bag. They found there some copies of Svaboda newspaper and took him to Orsha city police department. There They composed a report about violation of part 2 of article 22.9 of the Administrative Code (‘distribution of printed editions without data-line), confiscated the newspapers and presented to him a summons for an interrogation.
Today in Minsk nine activists of the public initiative Novy Shliakh (New Way) started a series of actions No To Nuclear Power Stations. They gathered near the main entrance of the Academy of Sciences and tied their mouths with kerchiefs that had radiation symbols on them. Then they moved along Nezalezhnastsi Avenue. They explained that they did it to protest against the possible construction of a nuclear power place in Belarus and demand a wide public discussion of this project.
“Amnesty International” has started a new international campaign in support of the Belarusian political prisoner Zmitser Dashkevich. In spring 2007 activists and members of AI will send some thousand origami cranes to the Belarusian Minister of Internal Affairs Uladzimir Navumau to demand the release of the detained youth activist. “A legend says that if you fold 1,000 origami crane birds, your wish will be granted. Our wish today is for Belarus to restore freedom of expression and proceed with the immediate and unconditional release of all those who are detained for the legitimate and peaceful expression of their views. We are appealing in particular for the release of youth opposition leader Zmitser Dashkevich,” the statement of the human rights organization reads.
Left-wing political parties on April 4 filed an application with the Minsk City Executive Committee for permission to stage a festive march on May 1 on the occasion of Labor Day, Belarus` state holiday.
On April 4 representatives of some special service carried out a special task. They occupied the main entrance-gate office of the joint stock company Polatsk – Shklovalakno. For about an hour everybody who entered the office were taken a hostage, www.bulletinonline.org informs. People were ordered to stand their faces to the wall, threatened and punched by truncheons. Workers and visitors who understood nothing were made to stand spread-eagled.
Opposition politician Alyaksandr Milinkevich has asked the Belarusian State Television and Radio Company (BSTRC) to arrange a live TV debate on the aftermath of Chernobyl and invite him, experts and Chernobyl cleanup workers to take part in it.
8 years ago Henadz Karpenka departed this life. Vice speaker of the Supreme Soviet, a chairman of the National Executive Committee, Associate of the National Academy of Science Professor Henadz Karpenka dies at 7 a.m. on April 6, 1999. The real reasons of his death are still unknown. The wife and children of the oppositional politician had to go to Germany because of the constant persecution and pressure of the authorities. They have been granted a status of political refugees there.