The Constitution of the Republic of Belarus of 1994, with amendments and additions adopted at the National referendum of November 24, 1996, defines the Republic of Belarus as a unitary democratic social State with the rule of law, which possesses supremacy and complete authority on its territory, and independently carries out domestic and foreign policy.
The territory of the Republic of Belarus is a natural condition of existence and a spatial limit of national self-determination, the basis for the nation's well-being and sovereignty. The territory of the Republic is unified and inalienable.
The multitude of political institutes, ideologies and opinions is one of the foundations of exercising democracy in the Republic. On the territory of the Republic of Belarus the creation and activity of political parties, as well as other public associations, which have as a goal a violent change in the constitutional system or are conducting propaganda of war, national, religious and racist hostility, is prohibited.
The Constitution establishes the principle of the supremacy of law. The state and all of its organs and officials act within the limits of the Constitution and the laws adopted in accordance with it. Legal acts or their separate provisions, which are recognized in an order established by law as contradicting the provisions of the Constitution, shall have no juridical force.
The Republic of Belarus recognizes the priority of universally acknowledged principles of international law and ensures that its legislation conforms to its norms. In its foreign policy, the Republic of Belarus proceeds from the principles of the equality of States, non-use of force or threat of force, inviolability of borders, peaceful settlement of disputes, non-interference in internal affairs, and from other universally recognized principles and norms of international law. The Republic of Belarus has a goal to make its territory a nuclear-free zone, with a neutral government.
The symbols of the Republic of Belarus, as a sovereign State, are its state flag, state emblem, and state anthem. The capital of the Republic of Belarus is the city of Minsk. The Belarusian and Russian languages are two official languages of the Republic.
The Republic of Belarus is part of the world community. It recognizes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Charter, the International Convents on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and accedes to the agreements within the framework of the OSCE and to many international conventions. The principles established by the major international legal instruments have found their reflection in the provisions of the Belarusian Constitution.
The Fundamental Law states that securing the rights and freedoms of citizens is the supreme goal of the State. The State guarantees to its citizens the rights and freedoms expressed in the Constitution, the laws of the Republic and envisaged in the international commitments made by the State.
The Constitution of the Republic of Belarus establishes its responsibility before its citizens for the creation of conditions for the free and adequate development of the individual, and the responsibility of citizens before the State for the rigorous fulfillment of the responsibilities laid upon them by the Constitution.
The Constitution of Belarus proclaims that all are equal before the law and have the right, without any discrimination, to equal protection of their rights and legitimate interests.
The State guarantees the freedom of opinion and conviction, and the right to freely voice them, as well as the freedom of public rallies and meetings, street processions, demonstrations and picketing, which do not violate the legal order and the rights of other citizens of the Republic of Belarus.
Monopolization of the mass media by the State, public associations, or individuals, as well as censorship are prohibited.
The Constitution guarantees the citizens of the Republic of Belarus the right to health protection, including free treatment in state health care institutions. The Fundamental Law also guarantees free general education and professional technical training. Secondary special and higher education is accessible to all, depending on the abilities of each person.
An important social guarantee is the right of citizens of the Republic of Belarus to social security in old age, in case of illness, disability, loss of a breadwinner, and in other cases stipulated by law. The State shows particular concern for persons whose health has been damaged in the defense of State and societal interests.
Citizens of the Republic of Belarus have the right, in accordance with their abilities and professional training, of equal access to any posts in the State organs.
The Fundamental Law of the Republic of Belarus establishes as the principle of building a State with the rule of law (of forming its bodies) such institutions as referendum and free elections, and the people as the only source of power. President of the Republic of Belarus, deputies of the Chamber of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus, as well as deputies of local Councils of Deputies of the Republic of Belarus are elected on the basis of general, equal, direct suffrage, by secret ballot.
Holding of referenda is one of the means of direct participation of citizens in the management of the affairs of the society and the State. A referendum is conducted by general, free, equal voting by secret ballot. No control over the will of the voters during the voting is allowed. The Constitution reproduces the provisions of the Declaration of Human Rights with regard to presumption of innocence.
The Constitution establishes that no one may be pronounced guilty of a crime unless his guilt has been proven in an order envisaged by law in a lawful court's sentence.
The Fundamental Law also incorporates the provisions of the International Convent on Civil and Political Rights. The state guarantees its citizens protection of their rights and freedoms by a competent, independent and impartial court, as well as protection of their freedom, immunity and dignity. Restriction of the rights and freedoms of the individual is only permissible in the cases stipulated by legislation. The Republic's Constitution establishes the right of any person held in custody to judicial examination of the legality of his (her) detention or arrest. The accused does not have to prove his innocence.
The Constitution establishes the right of everyone to legal assistance in the exercise and protection of one's rights and freedoms, including the right to make use, at any time, of counsel and one's other representatives in court, before other state bodies, local government authorities, at enterprises, institutions, organizations, public associations, and in relations with officials and citizens.
The State undertakes the responsibility, in cases envisaged by the law, to pay for the legal assistance expenses.
Creating difficulties to the rendering of legal assistance in the Republic of Belarus is prohibited.
The Fundamental Law establishes that there may be state and private property. The State guarantees to all equal rights for conducting economic and other activities, with the exception of that which is forbidden by law, and guarantees equal protection and equal conditions for the development of all forms of ownership.
The Constitution establishes the principle of separation of power: state power in the Republic of Belarus is founded on the basis of its separation into legislative, executive and judiciary. State organs, within the terms of their reference, act independently and cooperate with one another, and restrain and counterbalance one another.