Campaign for cancelling decree on ‘social parasitism’ kicks off today

A nationwide campaign for cancelling the notorious decree on ‘social parasitism’ was initiated by the Belarusian Trade Union of Radioelectronic Industry Workers (REP) and NGO Legal Assistance to Population.

The decree which president Lukashenka signed in April 2015 established the obligation of the citizens of Belarus, foreign citizens permanently residing in Belarus, stateless persons, who did not participate in the financing of public spending or participated in such financing less than 183 days (six months – ed.) in the past year, to pay a fee of 20 basic units (appr. $230).

Anybody who wants to can sign for the abolition of the decree in REP offices; trade union activists will also collect signatures. One can also sign the petition on the Internet. The campaign will last until February, 18.

It is not the only initiative to repeal the controversial decree. Last week, opposition MP Hanna Kanapatskaya urged presedent Alyaksandr Lukashenka to do so; Baranavichy-based activist Mikalai Charnavus is also collecting signatures for the abolition.

In December, a resident of Rahachou hanged herself as she had no money to pay the tax. Last week it became known that the notorious decree was amended, but not revoked.