Belarus six times violated rights of human rights defender Leanid Sudalenka, says UN Human Rights Committee
Human rights activist Leanid Sudalenka has received a decision adopted at the autumn session of the UN Human Rights Committee in case No. 2016/2010 “Leanid Sudalenka vs. Belarus.” The experts found that the Belarusian authorities for the sixth time violated his civil and political rights, this time – the right to peaceful assembly and expression, as enshrined in Articles 19 and 21 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. According to the Committee’s Views, the Belarusian officials are obliged not only to provide Sudalenka with an effective remedy, to compensate for the legal costs, but also to reform the national law on mass events and the practice of its application so as to avoid similar violations in the future.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has found that in 2009 Homieĺ officials violated the activist’s rights when banning a picket expected to mark the Human Rights Day on December 10. “I was planning to hold the picket to draw public attention to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but the city authorities did not allow it. I used all the domestic remedies, from the District Court to the Supreme Court, but the courts did not wish to protect my rights. Just like the officials, the national judiciary argued that the executive committee legally restricted my rights,” said Leanid Sudalenka.
He recalls that the right to peaceful assembly is not absolute, it may be limited, but the state must indicate what purpose should be achieved by restricting the rights of a citizen. For example, national security or the rights of other citizens. In this case, the State did not do this. “By another decision of the Committee I would like to urge the Belarusian authorities to change something in the field of human rights. Today you are going to talk on equal terms with Europe, saying that you will build relationships, but what can we see in practice?” says the human rights activist.
Earlier, the United Nations Human Rights Committee found that the Belarusian authorities violated Sudalenka’s rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, the right to elect and be elected. The Committee also concluded in one of its decisions that the state showed discrimination on political grounds against the human rights defender.