Belarusian MFA resists country’s accession to UN Convention on Enforced Disappearance
There is no need in Belarus’ signature of the UN International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, since its provisions are already enshrined in the domestic laws, says an official reply from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs received by Mrs. Sviatlana Zavadskaya, the widow of Dzmitry Zavadski.
According to the MFA, Belarusian legislation classes kidnapping as a grave crime. Apart from that, it argues that the country’s criminal legislation as well as the practice of its application are based on strict adherence to guarantees of protection against kidnapping and consequent disappearances.
Human rights defender Raman Kisliak, who assisted Mrs. Zavadskaya in submitting the appeal, says that the government bodies do not understand the essence of the issue, as the criminal articles mentioned in the MFA’s reply deal with kidnapping, instead of enforced disappearance. Meanwhile, the Convention considers “enforced disappearance” to be “the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law”, i.e. “enforced disappearance” is always linked to actions by the State, or other persons assisted by the State. Moreover, to commit enforced disappearance, one does not have to kidnap a person: it may just be a detention that is followed by lack of information on the person’s whereabouts.