Byelorusskaya Assotsyatsya zhenshchin-yuristov BAZY

Linked with Galina Drebezova – Belarus.

The Belarusian Association of Women Lawyers and the Brest Association of Legal Advice Centers.

Public Organisation “Belarusian Association of Women-Lawyers“,
Field: government, self-government, law.
Contact person: Galina Drebezava, e-mail.

Women’s movement in Belarus – formation, development, problems: During the years of social-economic transformation and long-term crisis in Belarus there has been a considerable decline in the professional and social status of women, and a sharp reduction of their actual participation in decision making at all levels and in all spheres. Belarusian women are the least protected social group in the job market: they face discrimination when being employed and dismissed, in the remuneration of their labor. The share of women among unemployed amounts to 65%, and the process of poverty feminization is going on. (Read the whole long on UniBel).
(UniBel in russian).

Public association “Belarusian Association of Women Lawyers”, NGO, Belarus.
Address: Naganova Street 10, Suite 11, 14, Brest, 224005 Belarus.

Phones: (+ 16 162 ) 231 842, e-mail. (See on UNDP).

Galina Drebezova is a lawyer and the president of the Belarusian Association of Women Lawyers from the southern city of Brest. Since late 1996, together with the Brest Association of Legal Advice Centers, she has organized and presented lectures on human rights in Brest and in other cities throughout Belarus. In addition to lectures for adults on human rights, Drebezova runs a Sunday school for children, teaching and training older children who then go on to teach younger children.

The program she runs concentrates on teaching people about their rights as enshrined in international instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as domestic instruments such as the Belarusian constitution. Drebezova described her approach to teaching about the rights under the constitution adopted following a controversial referendum in November 1996: We take the section “The individual and society.” We say to people, “this is what you voted for but it is not adhered to.” We took a while to come to that, we didn’t know how it would [turn out]. Concerning the 1994 constitution – we couldn’t teach about that, they would just prevent us from [talking to] people. So we use the 1996 constitution and say to people, “In the referendum you voted for this, take a look at what it says. Is it adhered to?” It’s not adhered to, it’s violated . . . I understood that it was the best that we can do in the current situation. While Drebezova’s human rights education program continues, local municipal authorities reportedly try to ban or disrupt its lectures. Drebezova illustrated this: I must admit that we encounter resistance from the authorities. Quite recently we wanted to give lectures in Kamenets [Brest oblast]. We placed an announcement in the newspaper and appeared on local television announcing that we will be conducting lectures, that we have professional people working with us . . . People showed a great desire to come . . . but they banned us from having the meeting on the eve of our arrival. We should have been there January 30 and 31 [1999]. We had planned to give lectures there as we had already had an agreement with the director of a school. It’s an excellent school, the children really wanted to meet us and we had planned two further meetings. We had just invited citizens of that town to the cinema – one meeting we had planned for children and the other for adults. Regretfully, all three of those meetings were canceled and we were unable to meet on January 30 and 31. The chair of the District Executive Committee, Vladimir Aleksandrovich Martsuk banned us. He said “What, you’ve got it into your heads to come here? We’ve elections now and you’re planning on coming here, to campaign for somebody?” I’m afraid that our trips in the near future will be restricted. Although Drebezova and her colleagues have been able to lecture in other towns, obstruction from the authorities is something she encounters all too often. Drebezova stated that they have been banned so often, she can barely recall all the instances: (Read the whole long article on Human Rights Watch Reports 1999).

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