UN Human Rights Committee recognizes violation of the rights of Homel oppositionist
The Human Rights Committee of the UN acknowledged that the Belarusian authorities had violated the right of the Chairman of the Homel regional organization of the Belarusian Leftist Party "Fair World" Uladzimir Siakerka to hold a peaceful assembly by banning the December 2007 rally to be held in Homel in disagreement with the abolition of benefits to the entire population of the country.
The relevant UN decision is available on the Internet in the English language.
Mr. Siakerka applied to the UN Committee after depleting all remedies at the national level. The Homel City Executive Committee banned him and 45 other activists to hold a series of mass events in Homel to express protest against the adoption of the law on the abolition of benefits to the entire population, including children under the age of 3 years. The local officials demanded that the activists pay for the services of the police, ambulance and public utilities.
The Human Rights Committee reminded that if the government imposes a restriction on the freedom of peaceful assembly, then it should support the implementation of the law and not seek unnecessary or inappropriate constraints. And since the government of Belarus has decided that only the prohibition of peaceful assembly can ensure public order and safety, protection of health and morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of other persons, it violated the applicant's right to freedom of peaceful assembly under Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
On the basis of the decision of the UN the government must provide the victim of the violation with an effective remedy, including a full cost recovery and adequate compensation, and prevent similar violations in the future. In addition, the Belarusian authorities must change the national law on mass events and the practice of its application in such a way as to ensure that everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.
The Belarusian government must publish the decision of the Human Rights Committee in the official media and execute it within 180 days.
According to "Homel Viasna"