The Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation continues to fight for the rights of athletes; Sweden heads the OSCE and will be actively involved in Belarus issues; since 1 January, the state has increased taxes in many areas and introduced a tax on leaving Belarus
1 January 2021 | BYHelp-Mediagroup
The Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation will seek the disqualification of the Belarusian Football Federation management
The Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation (BSSF) has submitted an application to UEFA and FIFA. It provided several pieces of evidence indicating the violation of rights related to the freedom of speech and expression of football players and other specialists in the area of sports. The athletes are pressurized in a centralized way by government agencies and people in power. In its statement, the BSSF calls for the suspension of all monetary funding to the Belarusian Football Federation, with the exception of financial support related to development of clubs as well as support for players and specialists. The International Olympic Committee has urged the world’s sports organizations to stick to their position, so sanctions from FIFA and UEFA can be really tough. The Foundation has sent cases of evidence in which specific people have violated the basic principles of the functioning of sports; it advocates for individual, concrete and proportionate sanctions. With each passing day, the credibility of Belarusian officials in international organizations tends to zero.
Sweden takes over OSCE chairmanship and plans to emphasize situation in Belarus
On 1 January 2021, Sweden took over the OSCE chairmanship. As Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said, the situation in Belarus will be among the priority issues. She has spoken harshly about the official Minsk more than once before. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya met with Linde in November 2020, after which the head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry wrote that she admired the Belarusian people and their striving for freedom and democracy. According to her, tens of thousands of demonstrators in Belarus stand for the observance of their rights, and Sweden has always supported people who demand democracy.
Departure tax introduced in Belarus
From 1 January 2021, a local fee for crossing the state border was introduced in Belarus. An amount of 87 rubles (about 30 euros) will have to be paid upon each departure from the country by land. The justification given is the consolidation of budgetary expenditure to combat COVID-19. The decision to introduce a local tax will have to be made by the regional Councils of Deputies. At the same time, we recall that since 21 December, Belarusians have been banned from leaving the country by land transport, with the exception of a number of situations (such as treatment and studies).
BSUIR student still to be tried under criminal law
A criminal case was initiated against a 21-year-old former third-year student of the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics (BSUIR) for organizing group actions that grossly violate public order as well as actively participating in such actions. On 26 October, a young man entered the classrooms of the university during classes, urging students to leave the classrooms and organize a strike and a rally against violence. The former student faces up to three years in prison. The young man will continue to remain in custody to await trial. The former student partially admitted his guilt, saying he “did participate in actions that grossly violate public order, but did not organize them”.
The retirement age in Belarus has increased again
From 1 January, men can retire at the age of 62.5 years, and women at 57.5. Earlier, Lukashenko signed a decree on improving pension provision, according to which, starting from January 2017, the country began a gradual increase in the retirement age – by six months every year. The result of the pension reform will be an increase in the retirement age for women to 58 years in 2022, and for men from 60 to 63 years, despite the fact that the average life expectancy of Belarusian men is 64 years, and of women – 76 years. The average pension in Belarus at the end of December 2020 was approximately 160 euros.
For more information on the events of 1 January 2021, please visit Infocenter Free Belarus 2020: