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.
‘The use of death penalty in Belarus is a disgraceful practice. It is a clear evidence of the repressive system of Belarus, including its judicial, law enforcement and penal sectors. I think Belarus keeps sticking to the Soviet past, when capital punishment was a habitual practice,’ says Ales Bialiatski, Vice-President of the International Federation of Human Rights.
Belarus is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which albeit avoiding direct recommendations on the abolition of death penalty suggests restricting and final abolition of capital punishment. However, the Republic of Belarus has not yet joined the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 44/128 of 15 December 1989. The state parties to the agreement expressed a commitment to abolish death penalty.
As yet, Belarus is only European country to practice capital punishment. After Uzbekistan abolished death penalty in 2008, Belarus remains the only ex-Soviet country to use the punishment.