Homel: Mikhail Tsimashenka demands that Belarusian MFA issued official apologies for age discrimination

2014 2014-12-16T00:00:39+0300 2014-12-16T00:00:39+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/cimaszenka.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

December 15, a Homel activist of the United Civil Party, 84-year-old Mikhail Tsimashenka, filed an appeal with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Uladzimir Makei. The applicant requests from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its officials official apologies for an insult and age discrimination.

Earlier, an individual communication of Mikhail Tsimashenka had been registered at the United Nations Human Rights Committee. The UCP activist and his colleagues intended to hold a number of pickets in Homel in spring 2013, but weren't allowed to do so by the city authorities.

Having depleted all domestic remedies, Mikhail Tsimashenka applied to the Human Rights Committee of the UN in connection with the violation of his right to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly. The Committee accepted his communication for consideration and requested a commentary from the Belarusian authorities.

the UCP activist received a copy of the comment of officers of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They questioned his legal capacity citing his age (he is over 80 years old). "People in such an age usually write in a simple language, whereas the text of this communication is full of juridical concepts and terms, as well as references to the practice of the Committee and case law, which raises doubts as to the voluntary nature of the communication," reads the commentary of the Belarusian authorities, received by the Committee.

The activist considers such statements offensive and discriminative. "The Belarusian officials provide the HRC with untrue information, that the citizens of Belarus, who are more than 80 years can only write in plain language and don't comprehend their own deeds,” wrote Mr. Tsimashenka in his appeal to the MFA.

Let us remind that the Homel authorities haven't authorized any mass events organized by democratic activists for ten years already. The UN Human Rights Committee, to which Belarusian citizens appeal due to violation of their right to peaceful assemblies, takes the side of the applicants and decidesthat they are entitled to a remedy. However, the Belarusian authorities do not hurry to implement the decisions of the HRC, believing that they are of an "advisory" nature.