Legal inspectors of the Trade Union for workers of the radio and electronics industry, human rights activists and lawyers met to create a strategy against the “Law on parasitism”.
The presidential decree No.3 “On preventing social dependence” widely known as “the parasite law” violates a number of legal acts, including Article 41 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, the Convention №29 "On forced labour" and the Convention №105 "On the Abolition of forced labour". According to the document Belarusian citizens who are permanent residents of Belarus, foreign citizens and stateless persons who did not participate in the financing state expenditures or those who participated in it for less than 183 calendar days in the past year are obliged to pay the fee of 20 base values. Non-payment or partial payment will result in a penalty of 2 to 4 base values or administrative arrest with assigning mandatory community service.
While the first "parasites" are already receiving letters from tax agencies, experts try to decide how civil society can confront the articles of the decree.
- This topic must be constantly discussed in media. This way the people it affects will know where to go, and that lawyers will defend them. We must once again address the head of the state not only to prove why the decree is unconstitutional and anti-national, but also to highlight that the state will spend a lot of time and money and in the end never get the finances it counts on. We cannot forgive the state that yet another tax has appeared thanks to this decree, - told Gennadz Fiadynich, the leader of the Trade Union for workers of the radio and electronics industry in his interview with "EuroBelarus" Information Service.
According to him, the experts are going to reach out to their Russian colleagues, as apparently it looks like considering the Belarusian experience Russia is preparing to adopt such a decree as well. Moreover, trade union legal inspectors intend to receive an international examination of the decree by the International Labour Organization. But the most important thing, Fiadynich believes, is for the people who are subject to the Decree №3 to unite and not to remain silent. It is planned that coordinators of the Trade Union for workers of the radio and electronics industry, the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and other human rights organizations will provide legal support to people in the regions.
- If we have no authority to cancel the decree, we must do everything in our power to stop it from working, - is persuaded Gennadz Fiadynich.
- No one is forcing you to work. We must understand that by means of this decree additional tax was introduced in the country. After the decree adoption, corresponding changes were made in the general part of the Tax Code of Belarus. There has been no tax on financing state expenditures before, – points out Leanid Sudalenka, human rights activist from Homel.
He believes it is necessary to develop a number of arguments that a person, who received a notice from a tax agency, can present to apply to the court.
- We managed to cancel the Decrees of the President before. Even in our illegitimate state it is possible to influence the situation by legal means, - states HarryPahaniaila, lawyer of the "Belarusian Helsinki Committee".
He believes that there are a number of ways, ranging from filing complaints on actions of tax inspections, appeals to higher authorities, courts, international organizations, to the solidarity actions of citizens.
Creating an algorithm of civil resistance to the illegitimate decree is not a matter of a single day. The situation will get worse, unemployment rate is increasing as well as the number of “parasites”. But lawyers assure that it is possible and necessary to seek justice in the legal field. In the near future they are going to present a strategy of how to stand up for your rights for people already affected by the decree or those who will experience it in the future.