Homel: human rights defenders mark the Human Rights Day by a meeting with people
Regional representatives of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, the Homel city orgnization of the republican public association "Legal Initiative" and the Homel Center for Strategic Litigation took floor during the meeting. The speakers noted that "man has no rights if he does not strive for their protection".
According to human rights activist Anatol Paplauny, a regional representative of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, devoid of state registration, this year only 190 people applied to the organization for the protection of their rights. Many people do not do it because of fear to anger their administration, ruin relationships or lose their jobs.
The human rights defenders also mentioned the fact that Homel authorities haven't permitted a single mass event organized by the local socio-political activists since 2004, ignoring the constitutional right to peaceful assemblies and freedom of expression.
According to human rights activist Leanid Sudalenka, about 150 people have applied to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations using the assistance of human rights defenders. In 56 cases the UN Committee witnessed the full or partial breach of the applicants' rights, including cases of 17 residents of the Homel region. The influential international structure witnessed violations of the rights to freedom of association, peaceful demonstrations, information dissemination, and even the right to participate in government - when opposition activists were unreasonably denied registration as candidates for parliament.
However, the Belarusian authorities ignore the decision of the UN Committee on Human Rights, do not compensate moral and material damage to the victims, and have no intention to bring national legislation into conformity with the treaties signed by the Republic and international standards.
In conclusion, the meeting participants viewed a film about the death penalty in Belarus, prepared by the campaign "Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty".