Consideration of Belarus’ report by UN Human Rights Committee scheduled for March 2015
A periodic report of Belarus on the human rights situation in the country was to be presented to the UN Human Rights Committee on November 7, 2001, but was eventually submitted with a 10-year delay on December 15, 2011. The country’s latest periodic report was considered back in 1997, therefore, the report highlights issues of compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in Belarus for the period from November 1997 to March 2015. The report has been prepared and submitted in accordance with Article 40 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The report will be considered in March 2015 at the 113th session of the Committee. This information is available on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Committee’s session in March 2015 will consider only the first stage of the report. After that, according to a new procedure adopted in October 2009, the State will receive a list of questions (called a list of issues prior to reporting), and then the Committee will consider their written replies in lieu of a periodic report (a so-called “focused report based on replies to a list of issues”). And only after that the Committee in one of its next sessions will make its concluding observations on the State’s report.
The procedure for consideration of periodic reports of States parties to the Covenant also provides for submitting alternative views to the Committee with information about implementation of the Covenant by human rights non-governmental organizations.
Human rights defender Raman Kisliak believes that Belarus has failed to provide periodic reports in due time in connection with the massive violations of civil and political rights during this period. According to the text of the report submitted by Belarus, says Raman Kisliak, the country’s human rights record is perfect, therefore alternative information about the real situation of human rights will play a vital role in the formulation of questions to the Belarusian government.
The Human Rights Committee was established in 1976 under the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in order to monitor compliance with its provisions by States parties. The Committee consists of 18 experts elected by the States, but acting in an individual capacity, regardless of their citizenship.
Belarus (then the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic) signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on March q9, 1968, ratified it on October 5, 1973. The treaty entered into force on March 23, 1976.