(Aug. 29, 2008) On July 28, 2008, the President of Belarus signed the Law on Population Registry. The Law provides for the creation of a database that will include information on all citizens and residents of the nation. The declared goals of this Law are to expedite the issuance of personal documents and other information by government authorities upon individuals' requests and to improve the quality of services provided by state authorities. Information from the database will be used for pension calculation, residence registration, registration of acts of civil status, business incorporation, resolution of tax issues, and for conducting polls and surveys. The database will incorporate all information presently collected by separate government agencies, police, courts, and tax authorities.
It is expected that the information collected for each person will include identification number, date of birth, digital picture, information on residence, family status, legal capability, blood group, parents or guardians, education, military service, financial obligations, and awards. The Law does not contain the full list of information to be collected, however, and makes the information-gathering subject to the discretion of authorities.
The Law requires that the database be in operation in three years and designates the Ministry of Internal Affairs (police) as the main authority in charge of the database. Similar databases have been established in other former post-Soviet states recently, but Belarus appears to be the only republic where this issue is regulated by a national law. (A Database on All Citizens Will Be Created in Belarus, Newsru.com, http://www.newsru.com (last visited July 29, 2008).)