Seven Restrictive Measures to Watch in Belarus

Overview of Enacted and Draft Legislative Amendments

Published: May 2021

Belarus drew wide condemnation from the international community in the past week following its actions to force a civilian airliner to land in Minsk in order to detain independent journalist Roman Protasevich. The shocking incident represents a significant escalation in how far the Lukashenko regime is willing to go to repress independent media and individuals supporting protestors in Belarus.

Protest in Belarus (credit: unsplash.com)

During the past six months, Belarus’s parliament adopted or is considering adopting seven laws restricting basic human rights. According to local experts, these laws are designed to suppress protest activities and penalize any person who protested the fraudulent results of the August 2020 presidential elections. The new and draft laws target peaceful protesters, journalists, workers who go on strike, and litigators who defend or support protesters in court. Furthermore, these laws allow law enforcement to use weapons and other force against protestors, potentially releasing them from liability.

The seven enacted or draft restrictive measures discussed are:

  • Law on Extremism
  • Law on Prevention of Rehabilitation of Nazism
  • Changes to the Laws on National Security
  • Changes to the Law on Mass Events
  • Changes to Laws on Mass Media
  • Draft Changes to the Law on Activities of Litigators
  • Draft Change to the Labor Code

ICNL has produced a brief that reviews key restrictions in the seven draft and enacted legislative amendments. The brief also comments on laws’ contravention of Belarus’ commitments as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Additionally, local experts Lawtrend and the Belarus Helsinki Committee have produced an overview of the laws, available in both English and Russian. ICNL’s brief can be downloaded here.