UN Human Rights Committee accepts Illia Dabratvor's complaint
As learned by the Human Rights Center "Viasna", Illia Dabratvor has recently received a message from the United Nations Human Rights Committee telling about the registration of his complaint of a violation of the rights for freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.
December 30, 2013 Illia Dabratvor was near the monument to Taras Shevchenko in Minsk, in front of the Ukrainian Embassy in Belarus, and held the national flag of Ukraine. By this action the activist wanted to express solidarity and support for the Ukrainian people on its path towards European integration. 12 days later Illia Dabratvor was arrested and brought to administrative responsibility. Centraĺny District Court of Minsk sentenced him to a fine of 8 basic units for "violating the order of organizing and holding mass events" (Art. 23.34 of the Administrative Code).
The activist appealed the verdict at the Minsk City Court and then at the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus. Both courts left the initial verdict unchanged. Thus, Illia Dabratvor exhausted all domestic remedies in an attempt to defend his rights, spending almost a year on it.
September 9, 2014, he filed a complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Committee, pointing at the violation of his right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression and asked to:
- recognize him a victim of a violation by the State party of his rights provided for in Articles 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
- point the State at the need to revise the administrative case and pay him a compensation, which would be not smaller than the sum of the fine and the court expenditures, incurred by him;
- point the State on the need to bring the national legislation on freedom of peaceful assembly in line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and refrain from such violations in the future.
Recently, the activist has received a reply from the HRC:
"Your appeal, which was submitted to the Human Rights Committee for consideration under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has been registered as message №2622 / 2015.
In accordance with the Committee's process rule 97, a copy of the message was sent to the State party with the request to send any information or observations concerning the question of admissibility and merits of the communication should be sent to the Committee within six months. We will timely inform you about any answer of the State party so that you could comment on it."
Activist sure albeit Belarus is still not ready to be responsible for the obligations taken on, it will have to do it someday.
"The facts of violations of human rights by the state need to be collected, classified and brought before the HRC. The authorities need to be constantly reminded that they violate their undertakings. I plan to go through all necessary procedures. Let the authorities, not democratic activists, run and hide. I am ready to answer if there are any questions or comments on the part of the Belarusian authorities,” said Mr. Dabratvor.