BELARUS: Long-awaited Alternative Service Law abandoned?
Nearly 20 years after Belarus' Constitution enshrined a right to an alternative to the compulsory military service for young men, an Alternative Service Law was drafted and sent to Parliament, reports Forum 18 New Service.
The draft Law would have allowed only religious-based objection, and alternative civilian service would have been two-thirds longer than military service. But no sooner had it arrived than it was recalled, allegedly for "technical" corrections. "We didn't see it as it was withdrawn on about 20 December last year," Valentina Goshko of the parliamentary staff told Forum 18.
"As soon as the corrections are made, the draft will be sent back for work in Parliament," Vera Chaushnik of the National Centre for Legislation and Legal Research told Forum 18. Yelena Tonkacheva of the Lawtrend Legal Centre fears the proposed Law may now disappear, as "even in this current form, the authorities see it as a threat."