News for 26 Jan 2009

Human rights activists against death penalty campaign launched in Belarus

26.01.2009 Human rights activists against death penalty campaign launched in Belarus

A number of Belarusian human rights experts have launched a public campaign aimed at the abolition of capital punishment in Belarus. A special petition drawn up by representatives of the Belarusian human rights community will be sent to the Parliament, the Government and the President of Belarus.

26.01.2009 Human rights council to be created by Lukashenka

According to Radio Racyja, a public human rights council is about to be founded by the president’s administration. As yet, the Belarusian Helsinki Committee is the only organization to have been offered cooperation. The council is likely to hold two sessions a month.

26.01.2009 Opposition leader Franak Viachorka to join army, says court

According to Franak Viachorka’s lawyer, the activists was found fit for military service by Minsk Savetski Borough Court in absentia on 23 January, despite the fact he the hearing was due on 26 January. Vintsuk Viachorka, Franak’s father and vice-head of the BPF party, says the decision is the most blatant violation of judicial procedures over the Lukashenka years, since it was a closed trial in absentia (the defendant was misled by representatives of the court).

26.01.2009 Radio Racyja denied accreditation

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied accreditation to Radio Racyja, an independent radio channel financed by the Polish MFA. In a conversation at the Belarusian MFA, the journalists were informed they could work without accreditation as they had worked before. In early January 2009, one of Radio Racyja’s journalists was denied accreditation for similar reasons. Representatives of the radio channel say both decisions must have been made simultaneously.

26.01.2009 Statement on Nasha Viasna registration

On 26 January 2009 the Nasha Viasna human rights organization applied for registration to the Ministry of Justice of Belarus. The decision by the Supreme Court of Belarus of 28 January 2003 to liquidate the human rights center Viasna was an outrage against the freedom of association, guaranteed by the Belarusian Constitution and international human rights agreements. On 24 June 2007 the UN Human Rights Committee adopted a resolution, stating that by closing down Viasna the Belarusian authorities violated Article 22-1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In its resolution the UNHCC confirmed Viasna’s right to adequate means of legal protection, including re-registration and compensation. It also obliged the Belarusian government to take precautions against similar violations in future.

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