Report prepared by the Equal Rights Trust and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee has been detained at the border and is awaiting an examination by the Department of Smuggling. Meanwhile, human rights activists have received a letter from the Office of the President saying that the information contained in the report has been “taken into consideration”.
A joint report by the British and Belarusian human rights activists entitled “Half an Hour ahead of Spring: A Report on Discrimination and Inequality in Belarus” was printed in the UK and mailed in Belarus, but was detained by customs officials at the Minsk airport.
The BHC has received a certificate, which mentions no claims against the edition. However, the parcel has been submitted for examination to the Department of Smuggling. Customs officers do not report on the nature of the examination, but the timing has already been put off until August 31.
The first part of the same books arrived in Belarus in July and passed the customs check with no questions.
Chairman of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Aleh Hulak: “We were not told about what questions were set for the experts, so we have sent a corresponding request to the customs. Practice gives reason to fear that too vigilant officials can create a problem out of nothing. With a strong desire, there will always be an avid “scientist”, who will give birth to such an examination that after that no one will know how to clear up the mess… Our study is designed primarily for professionals, for decision-makers. We have already sent complaints to all the relevant ministries, the Ministry of Justice, Prosecutor General’s Office, the KGB… And we know that the report is being used, that it is useful.”
The Russian-language report is the first comprehensive review of discrimination and inequality practices on all grounds and in all spheres of life in Belarus. It is based on extensive field research, interviews, focus groups and a serious analysis of legislation and policies. The report also provides a number of detailed recommendations to the Belarusian authorities on the necessary reforms in the legislation, policies and practices to ensure equality and non-discrimination.