Official Minsk ignores recommendations by international HR experts
Belarusian human rights activists appreciate the impartiality of the international human rights organizations’ annual reports, but at the same time they stress that such reports do not directly affect the situation in the field of human rights in the country. The main problem is that the Belarusian authorities do not react on them.
The impartiality of the Report.
According to the human rights activist Valiantsin Stefanovich, it is fair that it was the violations of the people’s rights to the freedom of speech and assembly that the Amnesty International considered the most brutal HR violations in Belarus in 2008, for the year was marked by a number of politically motivated criminal trials over Andrei Kim and Siarhei Parsiukevich, as well the ‘Process of 14’, when 14 persons were convicted for participating in a peaceful demonstration. Mr.Stefanovich says those were an outrage against human rights, because they dealt with criminal prosecution of the regime’s opponents and their eventual imprisonment.
Apart from that, the HR lawyer mentions several other facts of brutal dispersals of peaceful demonstrations, e.g. on 25 March, when the police brutality was especially severe, resulting in arrests and imprisonments of hundreds of people. Violations of the right to the freedom of assembly are directly tied to the suppression of the freedom of expression and speech, says the human rights activist.
‘Besides, Belarusian independent newspapers keep facing obstacles to be distributed freely. That is why the freedom of speech in the country is still very restricted.’ says Mr.Stefanovich.
The unwillingness to admit the obvious
According to head of the legal commission of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Hary Pahaniayla, a number of authoritative international human rights organizations – Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Article-19 etc. – provide impartial information on human rights violations in many countries of the world. Mr.Pahaniayla is confident that the governments of the respective countries should therefore take certain measures pertaining to the issues covered in the reports aimed at improving the situation. Belarus keeps showing its dismissive attitude towards such documents, by viewing them as politically motivated ones, and therefore ignores them on the official level. ‘It is because the reports are nothing but a moral reproach for the governments in whose countries human rights are brutally violated, resulting in no commitments aimed at correcting the flaws,’ says the expert.