New unemployment statistics to allow redistributing budgetary funds required to improve labour market situation

March 06, 2017 10:52

According to a sample survey of households, the unemployment rate in 2016 in Belarus was 5.8% of the economically active population. Meanwhile, official unemployment statistics quoted less than 1%. The difference is due to different methodology in assessing the unemployment. Official statistics only includes those officially registered on the labour exchange, excluding those searching for a job independently. The employment policy is likely to be revised, unemployment benefits are likely to grow and more funds are likely to be allocated to improve the labour market situation, including wider opportunities for retraining and self-employment. Amid further layoffs at industrial enterprises, the state is likely to oblige closing and operating enterprises to retrain laid-off workers, which would increase the financial burden on enterprises, but would reduce time needed to find a new job.

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Death penalty discussion in Belarus: yet not ready for either abolition or moratorium
September 18, 2017 10:43
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The Belarusian authorities have launched a discussion on the moratorium or abolition of the death penalty under the pressure of Belarusian human rights activists and international community. Apparently, the authorities are interested in monitoring public sentiments and response to the possible abolition of the capital punishment. The introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty would depend on the dynamics in Belarusian-European relations, efforts of the civil society organisations and Western capitals.

In Grodno last week, the possibility of abolishing the death penalty in Belarus or introducing a moratorium was discussed.

The Belarusian authorities are likely to continue to support the death penalty in Belarus. During his rule, President Lukashenka pardoned only one person, and courts sentenced to death more than 400 people since the early 1990s. Over the past year, Belarusian courts sentenced to death several persons and one person was executed.

There are no recent independent polls about people’s attitude about the death penalty in Belarus. Apparently, this issue is not a priority for the population. In many ways, public opinion about the abolition of the death penalty would depend on the tone of the state-owned media reports.

That said, the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Roman-Catholic Church stand for the abolition of the capital punishment, however their efforts in this regard only limit to public statements about their stance. Simultaneously, the authorities could have influenced public opinion about the death penalty through a focused media campaign in the state media. As they did, for example, with the nuclear power plant construction in Astravets. Initially unpopular project of the NPP construction was broadly promoted in the state media, and eventually, according to independent pollsters, was accepted by most population.