Follow-up Note on the View Belyatsky et al. vs. Belarus
United Nations Human Rights Committee
The Human Rights House Foundation (Oslo, Norway, and Geneva, Switzerland) and the Belarusian Human Rights House in exile in Vilnius, Lithuania, hereby submit the present follow-up note to the Human Rights Committee (hereinafter, “HR Committee”) on the View Belyatsky et al. vs. Belarus on the communication No. 1296/2004 of 24 July 2007, published on 7 August 2007 (hereinafter, “the View”).
Aleksander Belyatsky is a Belarusian citizen born in 1962, residing in Minsk, Belarus, and is the Chairperson of the non-governmental human rights public association Human Rights Centre Viasna (hereinafter, “Viasna”), member of the Belarusian Human Rights House.
In spite of to the View, re-registration of Viasna has been refused by the Ministry of Justice. (See appendix: a copy of the letter from the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus from 24 August 2007, in Belarusian)
Aleksander Belyatsky wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 17 March 2009 and demanded the Ministry, which is entitled to exercise control over and assist the implementation of the international treaties by State bodies (§ 5.11 of the Regulations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, approved by Decree No. 978 of 31 July 2006 of the Council of Ministers):
“To provide information on the measures taken by the Ministry to implement the Observation by the UN Human Rights Committee (Communication No. 1296/2004) of 24 July 2007;
Within the competence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take measures aimed at the implementation of the above-mentioned Observation. […]”
After liquidation in 2003, “Viasna” has been trying to re-register under a new name of “Nasha Viasna”. The Belarusian government has repeatedly refused to re-register it (see: http://humanrightshouse.org/Articles/10216.html).
The Government of the Republic of Belarus has not implemented the two recommendations of the HR Committee in its View (§ 8 and 9 of the View) and neither action nor decision has been taken to implement them, as admitted by the Government itself. On 3 April 2009, Ihar Petryshenka, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus answered as follows: “What concerns implementation of the undertakings of the Republic of Belarus under the Optional protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 16 December 1966, we take into consideration that the views of the UN Human Rights Committee are recommendative.” (See appendix: a copy of the letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus from 3 April 2009, in Russian)
The Government did take no step to implement the View of the HR Committee and respect it’s international obligations in that sense.
Recall of the View
On 2 September 2003, the Ministry of Justice filed a suit in the Supreme Court of Belarus, requesting the dissolution of “Viasna” (§ 2.2 of the View). On 28 October 2003, the Supreme Court pronounced the dissolution of “Viasna” (§ 2.3 of the View). The decision became effective immediately after its adoption (§ 2.4 of the View) and no other domestic remedies to challenge the decision to dissolve Viasna were available, after “Viasna”’s appeal to the Chairperson of the Supreme Court was rejected on 24 December 2003 (§ 2.4 of the View, in fine).
The HR Committee concluded (§ 8 and 9 of the View):
“The Human Rights Committee, acting under article 5, paragraph 4, of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, is of the view that the information before it discloses a violation by the State party of article 22, paragraph 1, of the Covenant.
Pursuant to article 2, paragraph 3(a), of the Covenant, the Committee considers that the author and the co-authors are entitled to an appropriate remedy, including the re-registration “Viasna” and compensation. It is also under an obligation to take steps to prevent similar violations occurring in the future.”
Maria Dahle, Executive Director Human Rights House Foundation
Florian Irminger, Geneva Coordinator Human Rights House Foundation
Anna Gerasimova, Director Human Rights House Vilnius