Committee on Economic , Social and Cultural Rights
List of issues prior to submission of the seventh periodic report of Belarus *
A.Issues of particular relevance
1.Please provide information on any cases in which the Covenant has been invoked or applied by domestic courts, including the Constitutional Court. Please provide information on the effectiveness of remedies for individuals claiming a violation of their rights under the Covenant, as well as on reparations provided to victims whose rights protected under the Covenant were violated. Please provide information on the impact of the legal reform on the judicial system in ensuring the effective application of the Covenant by the courts.
2.Please comment on the consistency of Presidential Decree No. 1 with the provisions of the Covenant, in particular the right freely to choose and accept work. Please also comment on the compatibility of the regulation subjecting unemployed persons to a financial penalty to cover the cost of social services with the provisions of the Covenant. More generally, please provide information on the legal and policy framework for preventing forced labour in the State party.
3.Please provide information on the measures taken to ensure the safety of the Ostrovets nuclear power plant, in particular the adoption of a national action plan to implement the recommendations issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group regarding the site’s resilience to extreme natural events such as earthquakes and flooding.
B.Implementation of the Covenant
Maximum available resources
4.Please provide information on developments over the past 10 years in:
(a)The proportion of persons living below the international poverty line and below the poverty line as defined at the national level, and the levels of inequality, defined as the ratio between the total income accruing to the wealthiest decile of the population and the total income of the least well off 40 per cent of the population;
(b)The proportion of public revenue that is financed through taxes;
(c)The rates of tax levied on corporate profits and on personal income, the value added tax (VAT) rate (not including VAT on luxury items, tobacco, alcohol, sugary drinks and snacks or gasoline) and the percentage of total revenue from personal income tax collected from the wealthiest decile of the population;
(d)Public expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product and, within total public expenditure, the proportion of the public budget dedicated to social priorities (employment, education, food, health, social security, water and sanitation, housing and culture);
(e)Inflation-adjusted absolute levels of spending on these social priorities.
5.Please provide information, including statistical data, on the impact of targeting, as referred to in the common core document (HRI/CORE/BLR/2015, para. 30), on the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, disaggregated by disadvantaged groups, including but not limited to women, children, migrants, older persons, persons with disabilities, persons living in rural or urban areas, and Roma.
6.Please provide information on the enforcement of the legal framework to combat corruption, including information on cases of corruption and prosecutions of high-level officials.
7.Please provide information on any progress made towards the adoption of a comprehensive anti-discrimination law, as recommended by the Committee in 2013 (E/C.12/BLR/CO/4-6, para. 8) and accepted in 2015 by the State party during the second cycle of the universal periodic review (A/HRC/30/3, paras. 129.25 and 129.27, and A/HRC/30/3/Add.1).
8.Please provide information on concrete steps taken to establish a national human rights institution in accordance with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (the Paris Principles).
9.Please provide information on the enforcement of the law on HIV/AIDS, including its restrictions on the rights of persons to education, to a choice of work, to a choice regarding military service and to choices in other economic, social and cultural areas. Please indicate whether there are any plans to amend or repeal this law.
10.Please provide information on the enforcement of the regulations on the registration of civil society organizations working on Covenant-related issues. Please include details on the protection of the rights of drug users, sex workers, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, unemployed persons and single parents. Please indicate to what extent the regulations regarding civil society organizations enable them to operate freely.
Equal rights of men and women
11.Please provide information on the measures taken to remove the legal prohibition of women’s right to work in 182 professions. Please provide information on the impact of these measures on the elimination of strong gender role stereotypes.
Right to work
12.Please provide information, including statistical data, on unemployment and underemployment disaggregated by sex, age, ethnicity, residence in rural or urban areas and employment in the formal and informal sectors.
Right to just and favourable conditions of work
13.Please provide information on the implementation of the legal and policy framework in relation to general conditions of work and the effectiveness and findings of labour inspections. Please also provide information on measures to ensure occupational health and safety, including data on the number and types of accidents per sector.
14.Please provide information regarding the number of persons, disaggregated by sex, age and ethnicity, held in medical and labour rehabilitation centres, and regarding the conditions under which they are held and are required to work. Please provide information on the number of parents who are subject to mandatory job placements as a punitive measure following the removal of their parental rights or because they have been unable to cover the reimbursement of State expenditure for their children’s upbringing in State institutions.
Trade union rights
15.Please provide information about the legal and policy framework for trade unions including independent trade unions, with details on the measures to guarantee their free and effective operation.
Right to social security
16.Please provide information on the legal and policy framework for social security, including details on social assistance, the proportion of people covered, the level of coverage and whether this coverage ensures an adequate standard of living. In particular, please provide information on the impact of recent reforms on the adequacy of qualifying conditions and the amounts of pension and unemployment benefits granted.
Protection of the family and children
17.Please provide information on the implementation of the legal and policy framework for maternity and paternity leave and for parental leave, including details on uptake.
18.Please provide information, including statistical data, on the childcare facilities for children up to 3 years of age and their availability for parents from disadvantaged and marginalized groups across the State party.
19.Please provide information on the number of identified victims of trafficking and the type of assistance provided to them, notably in the context of the scheme for the rehabilitation and social reintegration of victims of trafficking in persons mentioned in the common core document (HRI/CORE/BLR/2015, para. 185).
Right to an adequate standard of living
20.Please provide information on the housing situation for the general population, including on social housing for disadvantaged and marginalized groups. Please provide information on homelessness and measures to provide shelters for homeless persons.
21.Please provide information on the measures taken, including impact assessments, to ensure that environmental degradation and hazards do not have an adverse impact on the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights. Please provide information on the measures taken to guarantee public participation in decision-making regarding environmental matters, as well as measures taken to ensure access to related information.
22.Please provide information on the impact of rehabilitation measures taken in areas contaminated by radioactive fallout from the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986, as described in the common core document (HRI/CORE/BLR/2015, paras. 77–80). Please provide details on the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights by the affected population.
Right to physical and mental health
23.Please provide information on the national health insurance and public health-care system. Please describe the impact of the programmes aimed at maintaining and improving public health and developing health care, as described in the common core document (HRI/CORE/BLR/2015, para. 113).
24.Please provide information on the laws, policies and practices that prohibit the detention and forced medical treatment of persons in psychiatric hospitals or institutions and describe the safeguards in place to ensure that such persons are treated in line with the provisions of the Covenant. Please provide information on the development of community-based mental health care in the State party.
25.Please provide information regarding measures to reduce the harm caused by excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco and the impact of these measures. Please provide information on any policy measures to reduce the level of salt, sugar and trans-fat intake and to prevent obesity. Please describe the measures taken to promote physical activity as an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, such as public awareness-raising and the enhancement of infrastructure for all, particularly children.
26.Noting the contraceptive prevalence rate of 57 per cent for women aged 15–49, please provide information on the availability and accessibility of contraceptives in the State party, including for men. Please provide information on the measures taken to prevent the use of abortion as a substitute for contraceptive measures. Please provide information on the unmet needs of families regarding family planning.
Right to education
27.Please provide data on the proportion of students at different levels of education disaggregated by sex, disability and ethnicity, taking into account Roma students in particular, with information on the measures taken to prevent discrimination in tertiary education.
28.Please provide information on:
(a)Measures taken to ensure inclusive education and reasonable accommodation for children with disabilities;
(b)Education programmes to eliminate gender stereotypes as part of school curricula;
(c)Sexual and reproductive health education provided to the public in general and to adolescents in particular;
(d)Measures allowing pregnant adolescents to continue their education.
29.Please provide information, including statistical data, on the right of minorities to participate in cultural life, in particular regarding their access to education in their native language.
30.Please provide information on good practices in policy formulation and implementation developed by the State party during the reporting period that have effectively contributed to the realization of economic, social and cultural rights by marginalized and disadvantaged individuals and groups. Please indicate how the Committee’s previous concluding observations (E/C.12/BLR/CO/4-6) have been taken into account in developing such practices.