Another Belarusian citizen wins complaint against Belarus at UN Human Rights Committee
On July 15, the UN Human Rights Committee once again found a violation by the Republic of Belarus of freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.
The Committee’s decision deals with a ban on a peaceful assembly against cruelty to animals, which was scheduled for 30 July 2009. It should be noted that this issue has been repeatedly raised by animal rights activists, since cruelty to animals resulting in their death or injury, as well as their torture, was not a criminal offense in Belarus back in 2009.
The ban on the protest received by activist Yauhen Puhach said that the peaceful assembly would create obstacles to the government-run enterprise in charge of catching stray animals, and two more companies. Disagreeing with the decision of the Minsk city executive committee, Yauhen Puhach appealed to the courts. Nevertheless, all appeals were rejected.
The UN Human Rights Committee found that Belarus had violated Part 2 of Article 19 (freedom of expression) and Article 21 (freedom of assembly) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The activist is entitled to adequate compensation. The government was urged to take measures to prevent similar violations in the future, including the revision of the law on mass events.
"This complaint is notable for the fact that we did not use the existing legislation concerning the right to file an appeal under supervision procedures to the chairman of the Minsk City Court and the higher courts,” says human rights activist Siarhei Ustsinau, who prepared the complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee. "Consideration of appeals under supervision procedures does not entail a review of the case, the appeals are considered by only one official, the case file can be requested only if the official wishes to do so, the process takes place without the participation of concerned parties. Accordingly, the supervisory appeal, in accordance with international principles, is not an effective remedy.”