Forced Labor and the Pervasive Violation of Workers’ Rights in Belarus

Inmates chop wood at Belarus's largest prison, in Bobruiisk. 
Photo : AFP/Viktor Drachev

Belarus authorities use of every means possible to feed the country’s economy to the detriment of its citizens’ economic and social rights. Internationally publicized as the «last European socialist paradise», Belarus forces large portions of its population to work, sometimes without pay and especially without the possibility to protest harsh or unfair conditions. These are the main observations of a report published today by FIDH and HRC Viasna.

Economic and working issues are quite sensitive in Belarus, especially in the current climate. Nearly every day, reports of students working on the construction of sports facilities dedicated to the international hockey championship, of conscripts going to harvests, of local authorities imposing unpaid work on the working population (a system called subbotnik) are related by the media.

The 80-page joint FIDH – HRC “Viasna” report, presented in Minsk on the occasion of International Human Rights Day, deals with the daily violations of workers’ rights in Belarus. Prepared following an international investigative mission in several regions of Belarus in June 2013, it highlights the wide use of forced labor and severe economic and social conditions which many citizens are confronted to.

Photo : AFP/Viktor Drachev

Full texte of the joint FIDH-Viasna report on Forced Labor and the Pervasive Violation of Workers’ Rights in Belarus

Forced Labor Belarus Report FIDH&Viasna by freeales

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