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UN Human Rights Council continued the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus

03.07.2016  |  Politics
UN Human Rights Council continued the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus Reuters

UN HRC renewed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus for one year. The corresponding decision was made on July 1, 2016 at the UN HRC Session in Geneva.

Today's resolution was adopted with a large margin: while 15 states supported it, only 9 voted against, and 23 states abstained which shows widely-shared concerns with regard to the human rights situation in Belarus.

“Today's resolution is an important signal sent to President Lukashenka, in power since 22 years: irrespective of attempts to polish your reputation, you'll remain under international scrutiny as long as you take no steps to guarantee the basic rights of your citizens”, said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.

The resolution mentions a series of grave human rights violations for which the Belarusian government is responsible, including torture, enforced disappearances, forced labour, violations of freedoms of the media, expression and association, the arbitrary detention and harassment of human rights defenders, political opponents and journalists, and impunity for human rights violations and abuses. It also deplores the government's lack of cooperation with UN and regional human rights mechanisms.

The vote on Belarus was a test of the Human Rights Council's resolve to push for progress at the national level”, said Ales Bialiatski, FIDH Vice-President and President of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”. “The ball is now in the government's court. It should implement key recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur over the past years, which are a clear road map for human rights reform”, he added.

During the meeting, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Miklós Haraszti, has submitted his fourth report.

"The oppressive government has not changed since the establishment of the mandate after the brutal crackdown on the post-election protest in December 2010", - he said.

Miklós Haraszti said that the violations have continued even after the close of the Report and its submission in April, HRH Belarus quotes him saying.

“Several generations have grown up in Belarus, who do not know or have no experience of what the words pluralism, free artistic creation, free media, labor rights, free enterprise mean in reality,” said the UN Special Rapporteur.

“My findings underline that the current mandated level of scrutiny by the United Nations of compliance by Belarus with its human rights obligations must be maintained, especially in view of the forthcoming parliamentary elections. I reiterate my call towards the authorities to engage with the mandate,” - he concluded.

Mr. Haraszti concluded his statement by paying tribute to Belarusian civil organizations and human rights defenders, who “thankfully have endured and continued working in Belarus confronting the often forbidding environment”.

As HRC “Viasna” recalls, the Human Rights Council is the main UN body for the promotion and protection of human rights. It has the ability to appoint independent experts (“Special Rapporteurs”) in charge of monitoring and reporting on the situation of human rights in countries. The Human Rights Council is made up of 47 states, which serve for a three-year term. Belarus has been on the Council's agenda since the violent repression of protests related to the 2010 presidential election.

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