Ex-Mayor of Homel complains to UN Human Rights Committee
Mrs. Sviatlana Haldadze, former chair of Homel city executive committee, submitted a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee, contesting a ban on holding a picket on August 4 last year in support of imprisoned human rights defender Ales Bialiatski. The picket was applied for by local human rights activists Anatol Paplauny and Leanid Sudalenka.
“We intended to stage the picket on the day of Ales’ arrest. The event was expected to draw public attention to the problem of political prisoners, and not only Ales Bialiatski, whose sentencing, we believe, was illegal,” says former Mayor of Homel Sviatlana Haldadze. She noted that the event in support of Ales Bialiatski was part of a nation-wide campaign, which was initiated by the country’s human rights defenders. Applications for pickets were filed in all regional capitals and other cities and towns, but everywhere the peaceful assemblies were banned.
The district court, where the ban was appealed, took the side of the city’s executive committee, and the Regional Court upheld the ruling of the district court. Later, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal. Thus, all domestic remedies have been exhausted, the only hope for an international authority – the UN Human Rights Committee.
Sviatlana Haldadze urges the Committee to establish a violation of her right, as well as the rights of the two human rights defenders, to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression on the part of the state, and recommend the Belarusian government to bring the law “On Mass Events” and the decision of the local authorities on the order of holding events in line with the country’s international obligations.