Foreign Ministry says complaints considered by UN Human Rights Committee are groundless

2013 2013-06-25T13:36:42+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Homel human rights defenders Leanid Sudalenka and Vasil Paliakou received a response from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to an appeal of a group of individuals, whose rights were said to be violated by the state, as recognized by the UN Human Rights Committee.

Earlier, a group of citizens who addressed the HRC and whose complaints were either granted by the UN body or are still pending, addressed a number of authorities, including the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, with a demand to implement the decisions the Committee.

Deputy Foreign Minister Valiantsin Rybakou says in his response that the claims are unfounded. Moreover, in his letter the official notes that he is replying to citizens “whose rights were allegedly recognized as violated by the HRC.”

Valiantsin Rybakou writes that, according to the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Human Rights Committee shall not consider communications from individuals unless it verifies the information that the applicants have exhausted all domestic remedies. “The opinions of the Committee in respect of the Belarusian citizens were taken by that body in violation of the Optional Protocol. The Belarusian side informed the Committee in a timely manner of such violations, and therefore the applicants’ allegations of “neglect” of the Committee’s opinions are groundless,” says deputy minister.

Leanid Sudalenka notes that the official accuses the Human Rights Committee of violating its own regulations and deliberately conceals a number of cases in which all available domestic remedies were exhausted, including filing supervisory appeals to the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor General.

“As to the cases considered by the Committee, where citizens did not file, for example, a complaint to the Prosecutor or the Presidential administration, I declare that such instances do not meet the international criterion of efficiency,” says the lawyer. He reminds that Belarus had executed a person whose supervisory appeal was still pending before the Supreme Court.

Since the early 90’s, the UN Human Rights Committee has received about 150 individual communications from Belarusian citizens alleging violations of certain rights. The Committee registered violations in respect of 43 applicants, 74 more complaints are still pending. But so far not a single decision of the HRC has been implemented by the Belarusian authorities.