Trafficking law 'will curb study abroad'

March 25, 2005

A clampdown on white slavery by Aleksandr Lukashenko, the President of Belarusia, includes a requirement for foreign university recruitment agencies to register with the authorities.

The order, which aims to prevent "trafficking in human beings", means that Belarussians who want to go abroad to study must obtain written permission from the Ministry of Education.

Under the decree, foreign education services will also have to obtain permission to advertise. Aleksandr Rukhlya, the recently ousted head of international relations at the Belarussian State University in Minsk, described the restrictions as a "trend to the self-isolation" of Belarus.

Professor Rukhlya, who last month was required to resign from the university after signing a pro-democracy appeal, told the Prague-based Radio Liberty that the ruling would prevent young people leaving Belarus, and new information would be prevented from filtering through.

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