Human rights crisis in Belarus discussed at OSCE side event
On April 17, the situation in Belarus was discussed at a side event held in Vienna in the framework of the OSCE additional meeting on the human dimension, dedicated to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
The event was attended by the Head of the HRC "Viasna" Ales Bialiatski and the leader of the European Belarus movement Andrei Sannikau. It was organized by an international platform Civic Solidarity. Mr. Bialiatski and Mr. Sannikau shared information and views on the current situation in and around Belarus.
Russian human rights defenders Yuri Dzhibladze and Olga Zakharova presented the report Conservation of the Systemic Human Rights Crisis in Belarus: A Worthwhile Price for Lukashenko’s “Peace-Making”? The report prepared by Freedom Files and the Working Group on Investment of the Committee of International Control over the Human Rights Situation in Belarus with support of the Civic Solidarity Platform.
The report says that despite of the efforts of the international community and civil society actors, human rights situation in Belarus remains extremely difficult and has not improved a bit since December 2010 which marked a start of a brutal wave of political repressions. In many ways the situation has deteriorated further, with exception of release of several political prisoners in 2011-2014. Freedoms of assembly, association, expression, right to fair trial, freedom from torture and enforced disappearances are among the key human dimension problems in the country.
According to international human rights experts, situation in Belarus is the most recent case of application of the OSCE Moscow Mechanism. Recommendations in the MM report have not been implemented, and therefore the situation in the country remains an “unclosed file.”
In the light of presidential elections in autumn 2015, Lukashenka’s main tasks are maintenance of tight control over the society to prevent any challenge from political opposition and at the same time ensuring of recognition of legitimacy of his re-election in 2015 by the West. Anxiety about a new round of crackdown on the eve of the elections is growing among civil society activists.
Participants of the briefing discussed what the international community could do to address the systemic human dimension crisis in Belarus and prevent a new round of crackdown this year.