Belarus

Population

9,589,689

Population 0‑14

15.5%

Internet Users

59.0%

Facebook Users

710,000

Mobile Subscribers

11,800,000
* Statistics provided by CIA.gov, Internet World Stats and GSMA Intellligence

2007 - The Council of Ministers Presidium of Belarus implemented an Informatization of Integrated Education of the Republic of Belarus 2007 - 2010. The program allocated €28m over four years to modernize the education system, integrate all educational institution into a unified information network, and create new electronic educational resources. Additionally, the program ensured every school in Bulgaria is connected to internet and achieved a ratio of one computer per 30 students.

2009 - As part of Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential (UP) program, the No. 1 Gymnasium School in Minsk participated in a pilot project which saw teachers using new technology to enhance their teaching and their students’ learning. Windows MultiPoint Mouse and AeL Collaborative Content, enabled teachers to incorporate computed-based projects into science lessons. Some 66 students participated in the pilot, all of which embraced the dynamic and student-led nature of AeL, giving the pilot positive reviews. Furthermore, with the assistance from Microsoft and Children – Not for Abuse, ECPAT International conducted Child Abuse Training sessions and roundtable discussions on the safety of children on the internet for school teachers, counselors and children from several regions in Belarus. These sessions focused on rules and safe conduct on the Internet for children.

The same year, International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) has completed the Internet Access and Training Program (IATP), which was initiated in 1995 by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and in 2007, was funded by USAID. The program promoted internet usage and information access by setting up IATP centers in over 250 locations in 11 Eurasian countries, including Belarus. In addition, IATP staff created over a dozen training modules, covering basic computer literacy, Web design, internet research, blogging, and wiki creation.

2010 - The national program Electronic Belarus was successful implemented in stimulating the introduction of IT in the activities of 48 of the state authorities, local executive bodies and other government organizations. In total, 107 projects were implemented, all aimed at the development of processes in sectors such as education, health, culture, and trade.

2011 - To emphasized the country’s ambition to join the world’s top 30 most developed ICT countries, the Council Ministers approved National Program for the Acceleration of the Development of Services in Information Technology for 2011 - 2015. The program overall objective was to create favorable conditions for the accelerated development of services in ICT, promote development of an information society on the basis of innovation, and improve the quality and efficiency of providing information for the population, business and government by setting up a state system for providing e-services. One of the nine sub-programs is entitled ‘ICT Security and Digital Trust’ and is dedicated to the development of ICT security system that minimizes the possibility of abuse of personal and other confidential information. Another sub-programs of the National Program was overseen by the Ministry of Education, which concentrated on human capital development and e-learning. It constructed a nationwide system of electronic educational resources, and created the necessary infrastructure that allows access to national and international resources. In addition, ICT skills of both pupils and teachers were developed and enhanced to meet the needs of an information society.

The same year, ECPAT International with the support from the Body Shop Norway, implemented Certified Safe Internet School Project in Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine and Russia. Completed in 2013, the CISS project supported schools in understanding internet safety for children on child rights principles, including access to information and knowledge, protection from online risks. Through training, school teachers and administrators were educated on children’s behavior online and the related risks, and received tools for the implementation of policies and programs needed to protect children in schools.

2013 - Hi-Tech Park (HTP) Belarus, established to support the software industry within the country, opened the RITM (in English, “rhythm”) IT Academy to younger children. The academy, part of a broader initiative to teach software skills to Belorussians, offers a number of courses for younger children and offers them the opportunity to explore and experience new technologies, learning skills such as programming.

2015 - Every September since 2010, HTP Belarus, established to support the software industry within the country, has held a Day of Knowledge of series of events to encouraging high school students to consider careers in technology. In 2013, around 3,500 children attended presentations from representatives of some of the companies based at the park, as well as from universities promoting technology and related degree courses. In 2015, representatives of the companies spoke on the prospects of technical education and the benefits of working in the IT industry to half a thousand of Belarusian students.

Through its Neighbourhood Policy, European Commission launched the Eastern Partnership Connect (EaPConnect) project that establishes and operates a high-capacity broadband internet network for research and education across Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. It will integrate the national research and education networks (NRENs) in the region into the pan-European GÉANT network, which will decrease the digital divide.

2016 - The Ministry of Education began implementing the Belarus Education Modernization Project, which was financed by the World Bank and is expected to be completed in 2021. The project aims improve access to quality learning environment in selected general secondary schools and strengthen student assessment and education management information systems. It will strengthening infrastructure of the institutions and improve access to and use of laboratory equipment and information technologies.

Canee.net

An interactive center for professionals working in the field of child abuse and neglect prevention and intervention in Eastern Europe. It was created in 2001, the website was designed to build upon and promote the professional networks established by the Eastern European Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program.

Chance Foundation

International Children’s Charity Foundation was created specifically to seriously ill children in order to give them a chance to recover - a chance to help them live a full life, to be able to grow and develop, to live among us, bringing joy to their families and benefiting society. Charitable activities are an opportunity for children to receive financial support to pay for expensive treatment and operations, a chance for families to overcome the disease of children.

Children Not for Abuse

Affiliated with the ECPAT network since 2000, the organization assists in realization of children’s rights for protection from all types of exploitation, physical and emotional abuse, cruel, rude and insulting treatment, sexual exploitation and sexual perversions.

Christian Children’s Fund (CCF-Belarus)

A branch of Christian Children’s Fund, Inc. CCF has been working in Belarus since 1993 addressing core causes of Belarusian children and adolescents failing to prosper - poverty, child abuse and neglect, family crisis, disability and the Chernobyl issues, drug and alcohol abuse, and HIV/AIDS.

Department of High-Tech Crimes

A division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the department is responsible for investigating cybercrimes in the Republic. The site also provides tips on how to stay safe online and when using a cell phone.

Foundation for Educational, Scientific and Cultural Cooperation (IFESCCO)

The foundation contributes to the further development of humanitarian cooperation and intercultural communication in the Commonwealth of Independent States in the area of education, science, culture, mass communications, information, archives, sport, tourism and youth matters.

HTP Belarus (Belarus Hi-Tech Park)

The state company was established with the main goal to support software industry. HTP Belarus provides special business environment for IT business with incentives unprecedented for European countries.

iEARN Belarus

A non-profit organization with close ties to educational and youth institutions which involves approximately three hundred Belarussian students annually in collaborative national and international project work.

INGO “Ponimanie”

The organization promotes maternity, childhood and paternity protection, preventing child abuse and neglect, participating in projects and programs that develop psychological basis for theoretical and practical actions in the sphere.

Internet Governance Forum

The IGF was founded by the UN in 2006 to serve as a discussion platform for internet governance policy issues. It brings together various stakeholders to determine best practices for internet policy. Past areas of focus include cybersecurity, human rights, inclusivity and openness.

INTERPOL

INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization, with 190 member countries. Its mission is to enable police forces to collaborate globally to fight crime in the Internet age. Three areas of focus are crimes against children (with a focus on internet crimes and travelling sex offenders), cybercrime and human trafficking.

Ministry of Communication and Informatization

The ministry coordinates the government’s efforts to transform Belarus into an information society by developing and regulating corresponding programs and activities.

National Commission on the Rights of the Child

The commission has been set up to monitor the implementation of the CRC and respect for children’s rights. It examines complaints of violations of children’s rights and, if necessary, takes measures to restore their rights.

Operations and Analysis Centre (OAC)

Established in 2008, the center responsible for administering the national domain .by and coordinates Internet surveillance operations, as well as ensures data collected by Internet service providers complies with the law.

Rasskazhi

The organization works with Ponimanie to provide support to children victims of sexual abuse. In addition, its website provides tips on how to stay safe online for children and their parents.

Freedom of the Net: Belarus (2015)

Freedom House

Report on the status of internet usage freedom in Uzbekistan.

Promotion of the use of Information and Communication Technologies in Technical and Vocational Education and Training in CIS countries (2012)

UNICEF

This analytical report presents the results of a comparative study on current situation and main tendencies in ICT use in TVET in CIS countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Besides, the report includes recommendations on further development and improvement of the use of modern ICTs in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

ECPAT Global Monitoring Report: Belarus (2011)

ECPAT

Report on the status of action against commercial sexual exploitation of children in Belarus

ICT in Education Measuring Progress - The Case of Belarus (2010)

Katsiaryna Miniukovich, Nikolay Listopad

Status of the implementation of ICT into Belarusian education sector in 2010.

National ICT Sector and Policy Appraisal Report: Belarus (2010)

SCUBE-ICT Consortium

The document reviews the national ICT policies and priorities and it identifies socio-economic factors influencing the ICT sector in Belarus, providing a summary of the current status and trends of Belarusian ICT sector. It identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the ICT sector of Belarus at both research and business levels, while highlights emerging opportunities and potential threats for the development of the ICT sector.

Regional Overview on Child Sexual Abuse Images Through the Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine (2008)

ECPAT

This regional report provides an overview of the situation based on the information collected in the literature reviews and the detailed analysis of cases.

This section contains details of the country’s laws as they relate to sexual offenses, children and the use of the Internet in the commission of criminal activity. Where possible, sentence details have been given, including whether an increased custodial penalty is imposed where the victim is a child.

The age of simple majority in Belarus is eighteen years. The legal age of consent for sexual activity and marriage is also eighteen.

  • Article 157, Criminal Code. Infecting with HIV. This Article states that it is a criminal offense to subject another person to the obvious danger of infection with HIV. The offense is punishable by imprisonment for a term of up to three years. The Article also states that anyone who knows themselves to be infected with the virus and willfully infects another person with HIV is liable to imprisonment for two to seven years. An aggravated penalty of five to thirteen years’ imprisonment will apply where the crime was committed against a minor, against more than one person or with direct intent.
  • Article 158, Criminal Code. Sexually Transmitted Disease. Imposes a penalty of imprisonment for up to three months, correctional labor for up to one year, or detention for up to two years for anyone who knowingly subjects another person to the danger of transmitting a disease through sexual intercourse or any other action. Where the offender knew he had the disease, an aggravated penalty of imprisonment for up to two years, correctional labor for up to two years, or detention for a maximum of three years will apply; where the offense was committed against two or more persons, or where the victim was a minor, the offender will be liable to detention for up to four years or imprisonment for the same period.
  • Article 166, Criminal Code. Rape. Defines the offense of rape as sexual intercourse without consent committed with the use of violence or threats to use violence towards the woman and her relatives, or by the means of the helpless state of a victim. The offender is liable to imprisonment for three to seven years, or detention for up to four years. Any subsequent convictions under this Article, or rape committed by a group of persons render the offender liable to imprisonment for five to thirteen years. The penalty will be increased to eight to fifteen years’ imprisonment where HIV infection or any other grave consequences occur through an act of rape, where the victim dies as a result of the offense or suffered serious physical injuries, or where the victim was a minor.
  • Article 167, Criminal Code. Sexual Assault. This Article states that anyone who commits sodomy, lesbianism or other sexual acts against the will of the victim with the use of violence or threats to use violence or by making use of helpless state of a victim is guilty of an offense and liable to imprisonment for three to seven years or detention for up to four years. Any subsequent convictions under this Article, or rape committed by a group of persons render the offender liable to imprisonment for five to thirteen years. The penalty will be increased to eight to fifteen years’ imprisonment where HIV infection or any other grave consequences occur through an act of rape, where the victim dies as a result of the offense or suffered serious physical injuries, or where the victim was a minor.
  • Article 168, Criminal Code. Sexual Intercourse and other Sexual Acts with a Person under the Age of Sixteen. States that sexual intercourse, sodomy, lesbianism or other sexual acts committed by a person of or over the age of eighteen with a person under the age of sixteen is an offense, punishable by imprisonment for two to five years or detention for two to four years, unless the act constitutes a more serious crime as stipulated in Article 166 or 167 of this Code.
  • Article 169, Criminal Code. Indecent Assault. This Article imposes a penalty of detention for up to six months or imprisonment for a term of one to three years for anyone of or over the age of eighteen who indecently assaults a minor under sixteen years of age, unless the act constitutes a more serious crime. The same actions, committed with violence or threat of force, are punishable by imprisonment for three to six years.
  • Article 170, Criminal Code. Coercion to Perform Sexual Acts. Defines the offense of forcing a person into participating in sexual intercourse, sodomy, lesbianism or other acts of a sexual nature by means of blackmail, threatening to destroy, damage or remove property, or by abusing the dependency of the victim. The offense is punishable by detention for up to three years or imprisonment for the same period. Where the victim was a minor, the penalty will be increased to three to six years’ imprisonment.
  • Article 171, Criminal Code. Exploitation of Prostitution or Creating Conditions for Prostitution. This Article states that the exploitation of prostitution by another person or provision of premises for monetary gain by a person, who knew beyond doubt that these premises will be used for prostitution or establishment and/or upkeep of a brothel for the engagement in prostitution when signs of a graver offense are lacking, are punishable by imprisonment for a term of three to five years. The Article also states that an increased penalty of imprisonment for seven to ten years with the confiscation of property will apply where the offense included the removal of the victim outside the country for prostitution; where the offender is an officer of state who abused his/her power; where the offense was committed by a recidivist or an organized group or where the victim was a minor.
  • Article 171.1, Criminal Code. Involving Into Prostitution and Forcing Into a Continuation of Prostitution. States that involving a person in prostitution or forcing into a continuation of prostitution is punishable by imprisonment for one to three years. Further convictions under this section render the offender liable to imprisonment for three to five years. The same increased sentence applies if the victim was a minor.
  • Article 179, Criminal Code. Illegal Collection or Dissemination of Information on Private Life. Defines the offense of illegally collecting or disseminating information about the private life of another person without consent, causing harm to the rights, freedom and legitimate interests of the victim. The offense is punishable by imprisonment for up to six months, community service or a fine. Where the offense was committed with the use of special technical devices for secret information collection, or by an official using his official powers, the penalty will increase to restriction of liberty for up to three years, imprisonment for the same period, or deprivation of the right to occupy certain positions or engage in certain activities.
  • Article 181, Criminal Code. Human Trafficking. Defines the offense of human trafficking as the buying and selling of people or other transactions committed against a person as well as recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of a person committed for exploitation purposes. The offense is punishable by imprisonment for a term of five to seven years with the confiscation of property. An aggravated penalty of imprisonment for a ten to twelve years with the confiscation of property will apply where the crime was committed against a minor; against two or more persons; for the purpose of sexual exploitation; to remove organs or tissues of a victim for transplantation; by a group of persons by previous concert; by an officer of state through the abuse of power; by a person who previously committed offenses under this article, Articles 171 or 171-1 of this Code; for the purpose of transporting a victim outside of the country; taking advantage of a victim’s vulnerability; by deception, abuse of confidence or combined with the use of force, the threat or other forms of coercion. The Article also states that where the offense results in the reckless death of the victim, infliction of grievous bodily injuries or other grave consequences, or was committed by an organized group, the penalty will be twelve to fifteen years’ imprisonment with the confiscation of property.
  • Article 188, Criminal Code. Slander. States that the dissemination of false information about another person committed within one year after the imposition of administrative penalties for defamation or insult is punishable by imprisonment for up to three months, corrective labor for up to one year, detention for up to two years, community service or a fine. Where the slander is committed in a public speech, in printed or publicly performed work, or in the media, or where it is connected with accusing the victim of committing a grave crime or particularly grave crime, an increased penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment will apply.
  • Article 189, Criminal Code. Insult. Defines the offense of deliberately humiliating the honor or dignity of another person in an unseemly manner. Where the offense was committed within one year after the imposition of administrative penalties for insult or slander, a penalty of detention for up to two years, corrective labor for up to one year, community service or a fine will apply. Where the insult is committed in a public speech, in printed or publicly performed work, or in the media, an aggravated penalty of up to three months’ imprisonment, correctional labor for up to two years, or detention for up to three years will apply.
  • Article 343, Criminal Code. Production and Distribution of Pornographic Material or Items of a Pornographic Nature.This Article states that it is a criminal offense to manufacture, possess with intent to distribute, advertise or distribute pornographic materials, publications, pictures or other items of a pornographic nature, or publicly display films or movies with pornographic content. The penalty for this offense is community service or a fine, corrective labor for up to two years or imprisonment for up to six months. The Article also states that an aggravated penalty of two to four years’ imprisonment will apply where the offense was committed by an organized group; by using a global computer network; where the victim was a minor and the offender was of or above the age of eighteen or where the offender demonstrated of pornographic films or video films to minors.
  • Article 343.1, Criminal Code. Production and Distribution of Pornographic Materials or Items of a Pornographic Nature Involving a Minor. States that anyone who manufactures, possesses with intent to distribute, advertises, or distributes pornographic materials, publications, pictures or other items of a pornographic nature depicting a minor, or publicly display films or movies with pornographic content with a minor, is guilty of an offense and liable to corrective labor for up to two years, imprisonment for up to six months, or detention for the same period. The Article also states that the penalty will be increased to three to eight years’ imprisonment, with or without confiscation of property, if the offender has previously been convicted of an offense under this Article or Article 343, part two of this Code; if the offense was committed by a group of people by prior conspiracy or by using a global computer network, or a public or dedicated telecommunications network. Where the offense was committed by an organized group, the penalty will be increased to five to thirteen years’ imprisonment, with or without confiscation of property.
  • Chapter 31, Criminal Code. Crimes Against Information Security. This chapter covers a wide range of aspects of cybercrime, from unauthorized access to computer systems and breaches of the security thereof, as well as the development and dissemination of computer viruses.

2007 - On February, 10, 2007 the Belarusian Council of Ministers adopted ‘Regulations on Computer Clubs and Internet Cafés Functioning #175’. The owners or agents of Internet cafés are obliged to maintain an electronic registry of the domain names of the sites accessed by their users. The computer clubs and Internet cafés are not allowed to use programs propagating the cult of violence, cruelty and pornography, or disseminate banned information.

The same year, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) in collaboration with the General Secretariat of Interpol initiated “Tornado,” a special operation against child pornography. As a result of investigation during in 2009, 11 members of a criminal group in Belarus have been arrested and sent to prison for 4 to12 years. That year, MIA reported 11 cases of child pornography and 71 cases in 2008. Cooperation between Belarus police and law enforcement from other countries closed 270 child pornography.

2008 - The Ministry of Internal Affairs began participating in an international operation against child pornography called Carousel-2, which was initiated by Brazilian police. In addition, the government passed amendments to Counteracting Illegal Migration, Slave Labor, Child Pornography and Prostitution. Under the new amendments, the production and distribution of pornographic materials or items of pornographic nature depicting underage persons is considered a separate element of the crime, and the offender is subject to imprisonment for up to 13 years, as well as confiscation of property.

2010 - INGO Ponimanie, under the auspices of the U.S. Embassy and the Department of Humanitarian Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, hosted Safe Belarus for Children international conference. More than 160 representatives from state administration, educational institutions, health care, law enforcement offices and mass media, as well as international experts, met to discussed the prevalence of sexual abuse in Belarus, including crimes related to child trafficking for sexual exploitation and child pornography.

The same year, the Government of Belarus enacted Decree 60, “on measures for improving use of the national Internet network”, boosting its control over the Internet. Internet providers are required to block access to any illegal site or content that are banned from being accessed from official institutions or Internet cafes, including sites containing pornography or encourage violence.

2011 - Council of Europe launched Eastern Partnership – Cooperation against Cybercrime ([email protected]) project, which was implemented in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and the Ukraine through 2014. The goal of the project was to strengthen the capacities of criminal justice authorities of Eastern Partnership countries to cooperate effectively against cybercrime in line with European and international instruments and practices. Currently, [email protected] II and III are being implemented to assist law enforcement to fight cybercrime. The projects will run through 2017.

The Belarusian Government implemented the National Action Plan on Enhancing the Status of Children and Protection of Children’s Rights for the years 2004-2010. The plan was developed in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (Optional Protocol). Priorities of the National Action Plan were to strengthen mechanisms to collect and analyse data on children and establishing a database on cases of abuse and violence, as well as raise public awareness of crimes and offences against minors and the penalties for such actions and how to identify socially dangerous and negative acts against children.

2012 - Belarus was added back to the Reporters Without Borders’ ‘Enemies of the Internet’ list. The government retains control over the Internet and the telecommunications sector. All external fixed-line connections pass through the state-owned operator Beltelecom, which is under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Informatization. In addition, the state also monitors content and periodically limits access to certain politically sensitive websites.