Mikhail Khvastou: Belarus does not need a special rapporteur

2013 2013-06-06T17:31:11+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/hvastou-un.jpg
Mikhail Khvastou, representative of Belarus to UN in Geneva

Mikhail Khvastou, representative of Belarus to UN in Geneva

Belarus does not need a special rapporteur or any similar institutions. This was stated by the representative of Belarus to the UN in Geneva Mikhail Khvastou, at a session of the UN Human Rights Council, where in the evening on June 4 the latest report on Belarus, presented by the special rapporteur on the situation in Belarus, Miklos Haraszti,was discussed.

According to Khvastou, the aim of the report is to exert political and economic pressure on Belarus.

"The Belarusian nation does not need a special rapporteur. We know what problems we have and are ready to tackle them", said Khvastou. "We have our own model, which is based on national sovereignty, security and rule of law. We reject all allegations contained in the report, and assert that the conclusions of the report are unacceptable to us."

In turn, the representative of the European Union, said: there is no doubt that the report reflects the systematic violations of human rights in Belarus. She stressed that the EU is deeply concerned with the continuing violations of the rights of civil society activists, the pressure on political opponents, harassment of journalists, as well as the use of the death penalty.

"We urge the Government to implement all of the recommendations contained in the report, including the immediate release of political prisoners, investigate all cases of torture and unjust sentences and introduce a moratorium on the death penalty," said the representative of the EU.

The representative of the Russian delegation regretted that the report Haraszti is a "compilation of diverse information from other sources, it is not the result of communication with the Belarusian authorities." (Official Minsk refused to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur and would not let him visit Belarus - BelaPAN). The Russian representative also said he did not see the need for a special rapporteur, because the human rights situation in Belarus does not require special attention.

Representatives of Poland, Germany, Estonia and France expressed regret that the Belarusian authorities refused to cooperate with Haraszti, and noted that human rights violations in Belarus are systemic in nature. They also urged Minsk to immediately and unconditionally release and rehabilitate all political prisoners.

The representative of Hungary called on the Belarusian authorities to immediately release and rehabilitate all political prisoners, including human rights activist Ales Bialiatski.

U.S. declared its deep concern about the human rights situation in Belarus and called for the continuation of the mandate of the special rapporteur.

Switzerland expressed concern about the recent passing of death sentences in Belarus and urged the Belarusian authorities to immediately establish a moratorium on the death penalty. In addition, the representative of Switzerland called for the release of political prisoners, including Ales Bialiatski, Mikalai Statkevich and Dzmitry Dashkevich.

The representative of the United Kingdom called on Minsk to fulfill the report's recommendations, to release political prisoners and to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty.

The representative of Slovakia said that Belarus exerts pressure on opposition activists, lawyers and journalists. He called for the release of political prisoners and expressed regret that the Belarusian authorities did not allow Miklos Haraszti to visit the country.

Norway also called on Belarus to release political prisoners and follow the rest of the recommendations contained in the report.

The representative of Cuba said that such reports are used to exert political pressure on the country.

The representative of Kazakhstan said that the report does not reflect the position of the official Minsk. He also noted the success of Belarus in cooperation with various UN agencies.

The representative of Venezuela called "not to demonize the Belarusian authorities" and criticized the sanctions imposed on Belarus by the EU and the U.S..

The representative of China supported the Russian position on the report and urged the UN Council on Human Rights to be objective when considering the situation of human rights in Belarus.

Myanmar has called for dialogue between the UN Council for Human Rights and the Belarusian authorities.

The representative of Uzbekistan called the report biased and said that is unacceptable to call for the release of political prisoners without a thorough study of the essence of their criminal cases.

The representative of Palestine said about politicization and double standards in the Haraszti's report.

The representative of the human rights organization "Amnesty International" called on the Belarusian authorities to introduce an immediate moratorium on the death penalty and its subsequent cancellation, release political prisoners and to repeal article 193.1 of the Criminal Code.

The representative of the Human Rights House Foundation, said that the human rights situation in Belarus requires a close attention of the HRC. He stressed that the country still holds 11 political prisoners, including Ales Bialiatski. "We once again call for their immediate release, the abolishment of Article 193.1 of the Criminal Code and putting an end to the persecution of political opponents, social activists, human rights defenders, journalists," he said.

The representative of the human rights center "Viasna" Valiantsin Stefanovich said that the human rights situation in Belarus remains bad. "There are still political prisoners, including former presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich, chairman of" Viasna "Ales Bialiatski and the leader of the "Young Front" Dzmitry Dashkevich," he said.

In a final remark Khvastou thanked the countries which make constructive remarks and called to a dialogue with Belarus. He reminded the EU of mass protests in the EU and declared the readiness of the official Minsk to dialogue on these issues. Khvastou also stressed that Bialiatski, who was repeatedly mentioned during the debate as a political prisoner, was convicted for tax evasion.

It is expected that the consideration of the resolution on the situation in Belarus, which will make account of the report, will be held on 13-14 June. The resolution also plans to continue the mandate of the special rapporteur.

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