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Belarus: Update to BYS35837.E of 28 November 2000 on protection for women who are victims of domestic violence

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 26 November 2002
Citation / Document Symbol BYS39957.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Belarus: Update to BYS35837.E of 28 November 2000 on protection for women who are victims of domestic violence, 26 November 2002, BYS39957.E, available at: [accessed 25 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Zuzana Jezerska, a representative of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) who conducted a public awareness campaign about domestic violence in Belarus, made the following statements:

[T]he issue of domestic violence is a new concept in most of the region's countries: "[The] general population is not aware of the problem of domestic violence. It is still a hidden issue. And it is not treated as a public problem, but as a private matter. It means that still, domestic violence is considered to be an issue of privacy. ... [I]t is the understanding of all of the population -- including government representatives. ... [T]here is no awareness on this problem (RFE/RL 24 May 2002).

According to a 2002 UNIFEM document, the following organizations in Belarus are available to support women who are victims of violence:

[1.] [The] crisis center of the Women's Union of Belarus provides legal and psychological assistance to women victims of violence.

Address: 7 Leschinskogo St., Minsk

Tel: 375-017-215-53-98

President: Nadezhda Ermakova

[2.] [The] Belarus Association of Social Workers is planning to establish a crisis center and a hotline for women victims of violence in Minsk.

President: Marina Naronovich

Tel: 375-017-34-45-71

[3.] Belarus Association of Young Christian Women

General Secretary: Svetlana Burova

[4.] [The] Women's Independent Democratic Movement [which seeks to increase women's participation in society, to develop the women's movement, to promote gender education, and to support women in crisis (WIDM 2002)].

Co-Chairperson: Lyudmila Petina

[5.] Belarus Association of Women Lawyers

President: Galina Drebezova

19-45 Partizansky pr-t, Brest 224028

Tel: 375-0162-41-02-24.

With regard to legislative changes in Belarus, UNIFEM reports that:

In 2001 the principle of non-discrimination was reinforced in article 190 of the new draft Criminal Code, which states that "...the intentional direct or indirect violation or restriction of one's right[s] and freedoms, or establishing direct or indirect privileges for citizens on the grounds of gender (...) are punishable by a penalty or correctional labour of up to two years. Belarus ratified the Convention "On the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women."

There is no special government or parliamentary mechanism that deals with cases of sexual discrimination. There is a Department on family and gender issues in the Minist[ry] of Social-Affairs and a Department for the protection of maternity and childhood in the Minist[ry] of Health (2001).

From 1998 to 2000, a project to reduce gender inequality in Belarus was implemented by the Belarus Ministry for Social Welfare with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (UNDP). A Gender Information and Policy Centre was established to provide gender assessments of all draft legislation submitted to the Ministry of Social Welfare and to monitor the implementation of the National Action Plan for the Advancement of Women (ibid.), adopted by the Republic of Belarus for 1996-2000 (UN 1996). According to the Women's/Gender Studies Association of Countries in Transition Website, the Centre continues to consult the government, non-governmental organizations and the mass media on issues of gender equality (WGSACT 22 Nov. 2002).

The National Action Plan includes the following measures to stop violence against women:

[T]he improvement of statistics on domestic violence; sociological research of causes and effects of gender-based violence; raising public awareness about international standards in relation to violence against women; revision and change of legal practices; promotion of social services for women victims of violence; training courses for social, education, health workers and law enforcement officers on how to provide help to victims of domestic violence; awareness raising on prevention of domestic violence and trafficking in women; rehabilitation programmes for women victims of violence and trafficking (UNIFEM 2002).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). 24 May 2002. Alexandra Poolos. "East: Domestic Violence -- An Unspoken Problem In Many Postcommunist Countries (Part 1)." [Accessed 19 Nov. 2002]

United Nations (UN). 1996. Circular No. 4. Family Matters. "Follow-up to the International Year of the Family at the National Level." [Accessed 26 Nov. 2002]

United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). 2002. Regional Public Awareness Campaign in CIS and Lithuania."Belarus." [Accessed 19 Nov. 2002]

_____. 2001. "Belarus." [Accessed 19 Nov. 2002]

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). n.d. "Strengthening of the Gender Information and Policy Centre." [Accessed 26 Nov. 2002]

Women's/Gender Studies Association of Countries in Transition (WGSACT). 22 November 2002. "Gender Information and Policy Centre." [Accessed 26 Nov. 2002]

Women's Independent Democratic Movement (WIDM). 2002. "About Us." [Accessed 19 Nov. 2002]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases


Internet sites, including:

United Nations: Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP): "Initiative of the Belarusian Association of Young Christian Women"

Women's International Network (WIN) News

Search engine:


Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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