On April 4, 2019, the REP's office housed a sitting of the initiative group consisting of rights defenders and union activists, who are designing an algorithm for countering Presidential Ordinances Nos. 3 and 1.
The members of the initiative group noted that recently people's appeals regarding their inclusion into the database of citizens "unemployed in the national economy" have become much more frequent.
TO REVEAL "PARASITES", OFFICIALS PHONE THEIR ACQUAINTANCES. IT IS LEGAL?
"Only citizens can decide the fate of this ordinance," said Garry Pogonyailo, the lawyer of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee (BHC). "The updated ordinance has changed accents, but failed to amend the approaches on how to replenish the state budget. Both ordinances are contrary to the Constitution. Many understand the unconstitutionality of the ordinance on 'parasites', but those in power would not move a finger to change this situation. It looks like local authorities are afraid to take initiative and report to the Presidential Administration that a wrong course had been chosen."
CONDITIONS ARE CREATED TO TAKE HOUSING AWAY FROM "PARASITES"
"We remember that the situation around Ordinance No. 3 was swinging for a long time. It was adopted in 2015, and people came out to protest only in spring of 2017. Of course, it'll take time for people to realize all the destructiveness and all the threats that it may bring. This autumn, the services will be added – apart from paying 100% for hot water, those who got into the 'database' will have to pay in full the services of central heating and gas. I'm sure that people will see the danger of such a 'progress'," Mr Pogonyailo has added. "The Constitution guarantees decent wages and salaries to our employees. It means that the state must ensure a decent existence for me and my family. And in reality, we have the fact that a worker gets the wages, barely enough so that he/she doesn't faint of hunger. What does BYN 300 mean today? And this is the real salary per month in many regions."
ORDINANCE ENFORCEMENT COSTS A LOT OF MONEY, TAKEN FROM BELARUSIANS' POCKETS
In the near future, the initiative group should draft a list of recommendations and documents for those who got into the database of persons "unemployed in the national economy", as well as a joint strategy to combat the "parasite ordinance".
"Why should people respond for authorities' mistakes?" Gennady Fedynich, the REP leader, asks rhetorically. "One of the problems is that not all the courts accept parasites' cases for consideration. This is a direct violation. To address such issues, we need to draft some counter-mechanism. The authorities have completely ignored the recommendations of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on the prohibition of forced labour. Our neighbouring countries have nothing like Ordinances 3 and 1. They shouldn't ignore people's rights at this scale. We understand that they have no money in the budget. But it is simply inhuman to replenish it at the expense of own citizens, by imposing fines and cutting their meagre pensions. They'd never repair the economy in this way."