British Foreign Office ranks Belarus among Cuba and Iran
The UK Foreign Office’s report defines Belarus as a country of concern that has problems with human rights.
On March 17, The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom released its annual report on human rights analyzing the human rights situation in Belarus as well.
The list of countries causing concern for the British shows little changes. The “black list” includes Belarus, Russia, China, Burma, Cuba, Somali, Iran, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Zimbabwe, “Yezhednevnik” reports.
A special section of the report is dedicated to Belarus. Such sections were made only for the 22 countries of concern, for example Iran, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan. The section on Russia takes 7 pages.
The section on Belarus describes both tendencies for improving the situation and broken hopes.
The report notes release of three political prisoners in August 2009 as a positive sign, but emphasizes that civil activists and the media are still being persecuted in the country. The Belarus–EU “dialogue” on human rights is welcomed, but excessive use of militia against demonstrators is condemned. The authors of the report are unsatisfied with difficult conditions for NGOs’ activity, problems with freedom of speech, but note signs of changes.
However, the fact that a special section was dedicated to Belarus demonstrates that these signs look more like phantoms so far.