Belarus at the UN Human Rights Council Today
Today (Wednesday 27 June), the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva discuss the situation of human rights in Belarus and the role that the international community should play. This is a decisive moment in the Council's engagement on Belarus. Since the Council's last resolution on Belarus in June 2011, the human rights situation in the country has only deteriorated, underlining the need for stronger action on the part of the international community. The Human Rights Council is expected to establish a UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus, who will be able to monitor the situation in the country on a daily basis and engage with local civil society, giving a voice to a silenced population.
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), together with its member organisation in Belarus Human Rights Center "VIASNA", has been advocating for more than a year for stronger engagement from the international community through the Human Rights Council and other fora. Our organisations believe that the intense degradation of the human rights situation in Belarus since the Presidential Elections of December 2010, including a severe crackdown on the civil society, justifies a strong reaction from the United Nations. The Belarusian government crackdown is gaining intensity every day: instead of freeing political prisoners (as stipulated in the Human Rights Council's last resolution), new critical voices are being silenced. Most recently, on 21 June 2012, Andjei Pochobut, a well-known Belarusian journalist, was arrested for having allegedly insulted the President of the Republic of Belarus in his articles, and risks up to four years of imprisonment.