News for July 2017

PACE: Abolition of death penalty in Belarus, simply a question of political will

25.07.2017 PACE: Abolition of death penalty in Belarus, simply a question of political will

Yves Cruchten (Luxembourg, SOC), General Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the abolition of the death penalty, and Andrea Rigoni (Italy, ALDE), PACE rapporteur on the situation in Belarus, have denounced the two death sentences handed down by the Mogilev regional court in Belarus.

The Many Faces Of Forced Labour In Belarus

24.07.2017 The Many Faces Of Forced Labour In Belarus

According to the International Labour Organisation, violations of workers' rights in Belarus go beyond unpaid youth labour. The most notorious examples include forced labour of prisoners, soldiers, and inmates at labour therapy facilities, as well as occasional unpaid work on Saturdays and mandatory job placements for university graduates.

EU Criticizes Belarusian Death Sentences

24.07.2017 EU Criticizes Belarusian Death Sentences

The European Union on July 21 criticized the two latest death sentences handed down in Belarus, saying that they "violate the right to life."

Two new death verdicts handed down in Mahilioŭ

21.07.2017 Two new death verdicts handed down in Mahilioŭ

The Mahilioŭ Regional Court completed today the hearing of a headline-making case of ‘black estate agents’, sentencing two defendants, Ihar Hershankou and Siamion Berazhnou, to death and two more, Tatsiana Hershankova and Barys Kalesnikau, to lengthy prison terms.

MEPs visit Belarus to hear conditions for addressing systemic human rights crisis

20.07.2017 MEPs visit Belarus to hear conditions for addressing systemic human rights crisis

On July 19, a delegation of the European Parliament met in Minsk with representatives of the Belarusian civil society organizations, who provided their assessment of the current situation in the country and spoke about the obstacles and constraints they face in their work.

Amnesty International: Aliaksei Mikhalenya at risk of imminent execution

18.07.2017 Amnesty International: Aliaksei Mikhalenya at risk of imminent execution

On 30 June, the Supreme Court denied Aliaksei Mikhalenya’s appeal and upheld his death sentence. Aliaksei Mikhalenya was later transferred to the pre-trial detention centre (SIZO) #1 in Minsk where death row inmates are kept and death sentences are believed to be executed. He is at risk of imminent execution.

Tell Turkey: free Amnesty’s İdil Eser, Taner Kılıç, and other rights defenders

18.07.2017 Tell Turkey: free Amnesty’s İdil Eser, Taner Kılıç, and other rights defenders

Every day, these women and men risk their own safety to defend others. They speak out for people’s freedom, they challenge injustices and they fight for everyone in Turkey to be treated fairly.

Anar Mammadli: “While Belarusian government still wants to imitate democracy, in Azerbaijan it has already finished imitation”

17.07.2017 Anar Mammadli: “While Belarusian government still wants to imitate democracy, in Azerbaijan it has already finished imitation”

Comparing the situation in Belarus and Azerbaijan, it can be noted that the authorities of both countries exchange experience of harassment of civil society activists. In particular, we periodically have to watch the waves of persecution of human rights defenders in the two ex-Soviet countries.

Liu Xiaobo: A man who spoke truth to power

14.07.2017 Liu Xiaobo: A man who spoke truth to power

While history will not judge Beijing kindly—after all, the only other Nobel Peace laureate who died in custody was Carl von Ossietzki in 1938 Nazi Germany—foreign governments also bear a share of responsibility.

Another student expelled over opposition activity

13.07.2017 Another student expelled over opposition activity

Mikalai Lohvinau, activist of the Belarusian Popular Front’s youth wing, has been expelled from the Minsk State Polytechnic College, the Association of Belarusian Students said.

Observatory calls on immediate release of Turkish human rights defenders

11.07.2017 Observatory calls on immediate release of Turkish human rights defenders

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary arrest and detention of eight human rights defenders in Turkey.

Bahrain: Nabeel Rajab sentenced to two years in prison

11.07.2017 Bahrain: Nabeel Rajab sentenced to two years in prison

According to the information received, on July 10, 2017, Manama’s Lower Criminal Court handed down a two years’ prison sentence against Mr. Nabeel Rajab. Mr. Rajab, who is at the hospital since April 8, 2017 (see background information), was sentenced in absentia.

Human Rights Situation in Belarus: June 2017

10.07.2017 Human Rights Situation in Belarus: June 2017

The closing of a series of criminal cases with clear political motives and the release of all the persons arrested on the eve of March 25, prompt cautious optimism, but do not testify to a change of the government’s policy in the field of protecting human rights as a whole and do not give grounds for claims of less repressive practices as an established trend.

Petition to Abolish Death Penalty Handed Over to President’s Administration

07.07.2017 Petition to Abolish Death Penalty Handed Over to President’s Administration

On July 6, Amnesty International’s petition to impose a moratorium on death penalty in Belarus, signed by 18 thousand people, was handed over to the President’s Administration.

Resolution of OSCE Civil Society Parallel Forum (document)

06.07.2017 Resolution of OSCE Civil Society Parallel Forum (document)

Participants of the OSCE Parallel Civil Society Forum in Minsk, representing civil society organisations from across the OSCE region, both east and west of Vienna, gathered on the eve of the 26th annual session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly to discuss challenges to the implementation of the Helsinki principles and the OSCE commitments and strategies of the international community to address them.

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