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06 September 2022, 12:33

Lukashenko opines on who can be stripped of Belarus' citizenship

MINSK, 6 September (BelTA) – Citizenship conferral should be approached in careful and balanced way, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he hosted a meeting to discuss amendments to the citizenship legislation and amnesty on 6 September, BelTA has learned.

The issues related to granting citizenship should be approached in a balanced and meticulous manner, taking into account national interests, the head of state emphasized.

“I constantly demand updates from respective authorities. I am aware of the concern of some people about this matter. Some of our citizens believe that it is necessary to be more meticulous about granting citizenship and, in general, about admitting citizens of Ukraine to Belarus. I want to tell these people not to worry. We are in control of the situation. Every person who comes here just to have a meal and then goes back, or comes to stay here, or goes in transit through Belarus - everyone is under scrutiny,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“During the discussion of the new bill, we need to take decisions on those who, having gone abroad, act to the detriment of the state and people, committing crimes. We know every one of them. We know them. Do these people deserve to remain the citizens of Belarus if they fled from their native country and severed ties with it? In fact, many MPs and representatives of the general public suggested stripping people of their citizenship if they fled and are harming the country, if their actions constitute a crime. This is what we are talking about now. Therefore, today we will consider this proposal,” the president said.

According to him, it is also necessary to discuss how to treat Belarusian nationals who have received the Pole's Card and other similar documents. “We need to figure out whether they are citizens of Belarus who are simply confused as they applied for this card allegedly by mistake, or they have a different allegiance. I think the law enforcement agencies and the diplomatic service can mention other issues in the field of citizenship that cause concern,” the head of state said.

Amnesty was the second topic on the agenda of the meeting. The last time it was held in Belarus was in May 2020. “Now our country is under unprecedented pressure from the West. Yet, even in such conditions the Belarusian society remains consolidated and united. Therefore, a proposal has been put forward to discuss the possibility of an amnesty in the run-up to the Day of National Unity (as you know, it is observed on 17 September),” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.

According to Minister of Internal Affairs Ivan Kubrakov, the Ministry of Internal Affairs in collaboration with other agencies, has drafted a bill on amending the citizenship law. The bill suggests amendments and additions to a number of provisions of the citizenship law to ensure the internal security of the state, the stability of the socio-political system, to update the document taking into account the enforcement practices.

“One of the proposals is to strip a person who is outside of Belarus of his/her Belarusian citizenship, including birthright citizenship, if a court in the Republic of Belarus confirms the participation of such a person in extremist activities or infliction by him/her of grievous harm to the interests of the Republic of Belarus in line with the articles of the new law. It is proposed that such a decision will be made by the head of state at the proposal of the citizenship commission. In the future, an extremist who has lost Belarus' citizenship might be banned from entering the country for up to 30 years. Also, the Ministry of Internal Affairs counts on the preventive effect of this legislative initiative,” the minister said.

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