"Situation with human rights in Belarus is getting worse", this is the conclusion made by the IHF experts.
International Helsinki Federation (IHF) for human rights based in Vienna published an annual report on the human rights in 38 OSCE countries from Europe, the Caucasus and Northern America. The reports covers 24 former communist countries, including 13 countries with established democratic systems. 14 pages of the report is dedicated to Belarus. Radio Liberty publicizes the Belarusian part.
As regards the rule of law, democracy and human rights, Belarus remains one of the worst countries in Europe. The authorities do not respect a number of basic rights. They imposed stringent restrictions on the freedom of speech, assembly and media. Numerous cases of lingual discrimination by authorities against the Belarusian language speakers are quoted. In 2004 administrative and economic pressure on the independent media has intensified, many of the publications ceased to come out (the Navinki, the Zhoda, the Vremia, the Birzha infarmatsii).
The conditions in prisons and detention centers remain poor, the police make ungrounded arrests. The criminal code and other laws allow for arbitrary accusations, says the introduction to the report by International Helsinki Federation.
The document reminds that the last year's referendum and parliamentary elections did not meet international standards. The authorities employed all of the available resources to provide for the required turnout and to make sure none of the representatives of the opposition parties are registered. From the standpoint of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, the referendum that raised the issue of allowing Aliaxandr Lukashenka to run for a third itself was also illegal.
The report notes persecution of non-governmental organizations, in particular, Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Human Rights Center Viasna. Starting from 2002 several mysterious attacks on renowned intellectuals occurred. In particular, unknown people beat Prof. Adam Maldzis, the directors Yury Khashchavatski and Valiery Mazynski, the former principal of the Humanities Lyceum Uladzimer Kolas, the human rights activist Aleh Volchak and the parliament's deputy Valiery Fralou.
The report prepared by the International Helsinki Federation also covers the dispersal and detention of peaceful demonstrators, poor conditions in Belarusian prisons, persecution of some religious organizations such as Hare Krishna, and discrimination of the Belarusian language in governmental agencies.
The authors of the report make the conclusion that the situation with human rights in Belarus tends to get worse and worse.