Belarus 1994 Constitution (reviewed 2004)

Table of Contents


We, the People of the Republic of Belarus, (of Belarus), proceeding from the responsibility for the present and future of Belarus, recognising ourselves as a full-fledged subject of the international community and confirming our adherence to values common to all mankind, founding ourselves on our inalienable right to self-determination, supported by the centuries-long history of development of Belarusian statehood, striving to assert the rights and freedoms of every citizen of the Republic of Belarus, desiring to maintain civic concord, firm foundations of government by the people and a state based on the rule of law, adopt hereby this Constitution – the Fundamental Law of the Republic of Belarus.

Section 1. Fundamentals of the Constitutional System

Article 1

The Republic of Belarus is a unitary, democratic, social state based on the rule of law.

The Republic of Belarus exercises supreme control and absolute authority over the whole of its territory and implements an independent domestic and foreign policy.

The Republic of Belarus shall defend its independence and territorial integrity, its constitutional system, and safeguard lawfulness and law and order.

Article 2

The individual, his rights, freedoms and guarantees to secure them are the supreme value and goal of the society and the State.

The State shall assume responsibility before the citizen to create the conditions for free and dignified development of his personality. The citizen shall assume responsibility before the State to discharge unwaveringly the duties imposed upon him by the Constitution.

Article 3

The people shall be the sole source of state power and the bearer of sovereignty in the Republic of Belarus. The people shall exercise their power directly, through representative and other bodies in the forms and within the confines determined by the Constitution.

Any actions aimed at changing the constitutional system and seizing state power by forcible means or by way of any other violation of the laws of the Republic of Belarus shall be punishable by law.

Article 4

Democracy in the Republic of Belarus shall be exercised on the basis of diversity of political institutions, ideologies and opinions.

The ideology of political parties, religious or other public associations, social groups may not be made mandatory for citizens.

Article 5

Political parties and other public associations acting within the framework of the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Belarus shall contribute to ascertaining and expressing the political will of the citizens and shall participate in elections.

Political parties and other public associations shall have the right to use state mass media under the procedure determined by the legislation.

The foundation and activities of political parties and other public associations, that aim to change the constitutional system by force or conduct propaganda of war, social, ethnic, religious and racial hatred, shall be prohibited.

Article 6

State power in the Republic of Belarus shall be exercised on the principle of its separation into legislative, executive, and judicial powers. State bodies within the confines of their powers, shall be independent: they shall interact among themselves, check and balance one another.

Article 7

The Republic of Belarus shall be bound by the principle of supremacy of law.

The State and all the bodies and officials thereof shall operate within the confines of the Constitution and acts of legislation adopted in accordance therewith.

Legal acts or specific provisions thereof which have been recognised under the procedure specified by law as contradicting the provisions of the Constitution shall have no legal force.

Normative acts of state bodies shall be published or promulgated by other means specified by law.

Article 8

The Republic of Belarus shall recognize the supremacy of the generally recognised principles of international law and shall ensure the compliance of laws therewith.

The Republic of Belarus in conformity with the rules of international law may on a voluntary basis enter interstate formations and withdraw from them.

Conclusion of treaties that are contrary to the Constitution shall not be permitted.

Article 9

The territory of the Republic of Belarus shall be the natural condition of the existence and spatial limit of the people’s self-determination, and the basis for its prosperity and the sovereignty of the Republic of Belarus.

The territory of Belarus shall be integral and inalienable.

The territory shall be divided into regions (oblasts), districts, cities and other administrative and territorial units. The administrative and territorial division of the State is determined by the legislation.

Article 10

A citizen of the Republic of Belarus shall be guaranteed protection and patronage of the State both in the territory of Belarus and beyond.

No one may be deprived of citizenship of the Republic of Belarus or the right to change his citizenship.

A citizen of the Republic of Belarus may not be extradited to a foreign state, unless otherwise provided by treaties to which the Republic of Belarus is a party.

Acquisition and loss of the citizenship shall be carried out in accordance with the law.

Article 11

Foreign nationals and stateless persons in the territory of Belarus shall enjoy the rights and freedoms and execute duties on equal terms with the citizens of the Republic of Belarus, unless otherwise specified by the Constitution, laws and treaties.

Article 12

The Republic of Belarus may grant the right of asylum to persons persecuted in other states for political or religious beliefs or their ethnic affiliation.

Article 13

Property may be state-owned or private.

The State shall grant equal rights to all to conduct economic and other activities, except for those prohibited by law, and guarantee equal protection and equal conditions for the development of all forms of ownership.

The State shall promote the development of co-operation.

The State shall guarantee to all equal opportunities for free utilisation of abilities and property for entrepreneurial and other types of economic activities which are not prohibited by the law.

The State shall regulate economic activities in the interests of the individual and society, and shall ensure the direction and co-ordination of state and private economic activity for social purposes.

The mineral wealth, waters and forests are the exclusive property of the State. The land for agricultural use is the property of the State.

Law may determine facilities that are in the ownership of the State only, or establish a special procedure for their transfer to private ownership, or grant the State an exclusive right to conduct certain types of activity.

The State shall guarantee the working people the right to participate in management of enterprises, organizations and establishments to enhance their efficiency and improve social and economic living standards.

Article 14

The State shall regulate relations among social, ethnic and other communities on the basis of the principles of equality before the law and respect of their rights and interests.

Relations in the social and labour sphere between the bodies of state administration, associations of employers and trade unions shall be exercised on the principles of social partnership and interaction of parties.

Article 15

The State shall bear responsibility for preserving the historic, cultural and spiritual heritage, and for free development of the cultures of all ethnic communities residing in the Republic of Belarus.

Article 16

Religions and faiths shall be equal before the law.

Relations between the State and religious organizations shall be regulated by law with regard to their influence on formation of spiritual, cultural and state traditions of the Belarusian people.

The activities of religious organisations, their bodies and representatives, that are directed against the sovereignty of the Republic of Belarus, its constitutional system and civic concord, or involve violation of civil rights and freedoms of its citizens as well as impede the execution of state, public and family duties by its citizens or are detrimental to their health and morality shall be prohibited.

Article 17

The Belarusian and Russian languages shall be the official languages of the Republic of Belarus

Article 18

In its foreign policy the Republic of Belarus shall proceed from the principles of equality of states, non-use of force or the threat of force, inviolability of frontiers, peaceful settlement of disputes, non-interference in internal affairs and other generally recognised principles and norms of the international law.

The Republic of Belarus aims at making its territory a nuclear-free zone, and the state neutral.

Article 19

The symbols of the Republic of Belarus as a sovereign state shall be its national flag, national emblem and national anthem.

Article 20

The capital of the Republic of Belarus is the city of Minsk. The status of the city of Minsk shall be determined by the law.

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