UN Authority Figures

U.N. General Assembly Second Committee, the Economic and Financial Committee, Vice-Chair: Belarus

At a rally of solidarity with political prisoner Alyaksandr Kazulin, human rights activist Valyantsin Stefanovich was knocked down to the ground by militiamen. (Charter97.org, December 10, 2008)

Mission of the Second Committee, the Economic and Financial Committee, of the General Assembly: "The Economic and Financial Committee...deal[s] with issues relating to economic growth and development such as macroeconomic policy questions (including international trade, international financial system and debt), financing for development, sustainable development, human settlements, poverty eradication, globalization and interdependence, operational activities for development, and information and communication technologies for development.." (General Assembly - Economic and Financial Committee web-site, "Second Committee")

Term of office: 2008-2009

Belarus' Record on sustainable development, human settlements, poverty eradication, globalization and interdependence, operational activities for development, and information and communication technologies for development:
"On November 1, the average national minimum monthly wage was BYR 220,080 (approximately $102), which did not provide a decent standard of living for a worker and family. From January to September, the average monthly wage was BYR 857,000 ($398). The law establishes a standard work week of 40 hours and provides for at least one 24-hour rest period per week. Because of the country's difficult economic situation, many workers worked considerably less than 40 hours per week, and factories often required workers to take unpaid furloughs due to lack of demand for the factory's products. The law provides for mandatory overtime and holiday pay and restricts overtime to four hours every two days, with a maximum of 120 hours of overtime each year. According to sources, the government was believed to effectively enforce these standards. The law establishes minimum conditions for workplace safety and worker health; however, employers often ignored these standards. Workers at many heavy machinery plants did not wear minimal safety gear. There is a state labor inspectorate, but it lacked authority to enforce employer compliance and often ignored violations. The Ministry of Labor reported that 120 workplace fatalities occurred from January to July, a 1.6 percent decline compared to the same period in 2007. The ministry reported that workplace accidents were caused by carelessness, poor conditions, malfunctioning equipment, and poor training and instruction. Worker intoxication was involved in 32 percent of workplace deaths and 10 percent of injuries. The law does not provide workers the right to remove themselves from dangerous and unhealthy work environments without risking loss of employment." (US State Department's Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2008, Belarus)