The Belarusian Helsinki Committee (Bhc) Has Revealed an Updated Belarus Human Rights Index Data on Equality and Non-discrimination

The Belarus Human Rights Index is created by a group of civil society experts under the overall coordination of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee. The Index evaluates the situation as to 18 rights (11 civil and political rights and 7 socio-economic and cultural rights), as well as 4 general measures. The Index shows changes in the human rights situation in Belarus not just in terms of "good/bad", but in tangible figures. The complete data of the Index for the past 5 years will be presented by the BHC at the end of March 2024.

The situation with equality and non-discrimination is predictably deteriorating. In 2019, experts rated the situation at 3.6 (on a scale of 1 to 10), while the rating for 2023 is 2.2. As noted by the BHC, an important factor influencing the assessment has been the increased use of hate speech. If in 2020-2021 it was mainly used by propagandists, now it is the rhetoric of government officials and the spirit of laws. In other words, there is a normalization of singling out the "dissenters" and a logic of treating such people differently.

The rating of mechanisms has dropped the least, but this is due to the fact that even in 2019, there were no adequate mechanisms for protection against discrimination.

Experts of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee generally highlight "deviation from formal equality" and "transition to a model of collective responsibility" as 2023 trends. Among the key manifestations of these trends in 2023 are:

  • Restrictions on the rights of people with foreign citizenship, residence permits, and similar documents, and therefore the requirement to report them to the State.
  • Restrictions on leaving the country for certain groups of Belarusians.
  • Legislative consolidation of the "proper" civil society.
  • Initiatives to formalize discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender, and reproductive choice.
  • Discrimination in education: requiring characteristics for applicants; gender-discriminatory admission rules to surgical residency programs; enslavement of medical graduates.
  • Another form of de facto tax for those "not engaged in the economy".
  • Abolition of the possibility to create separate schools or preschool institutions with education in the language of minorities (only classes).
  • Restrictions on the rights of Belarusians abroad (passports, notarial acts, refusal to provide voting areas).

For more information on the changes in the Index, please visit the BHC website.
Made on