US Department of State reports about 2018 human rights violations in Belarus

2019 2019-03-14T16:19:44+0300 2019-03-14T16:19:43+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
US Department of State logo. Source:

US Department of State logo. Source:

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor of U.S. Department of State issued the Report on Human Rights Practices for 2018 for a number of countries worldwide, including Belarus.

The report consist of several sections that describe violations regarding respect for the integrity of the person, respect for civil liberties, freedom to participate in the political process, corruption and lack of transparency in government, discrimination, worker rights, and others.

Assessing the governmental attitude regarding international and nongovernmental investigation of alleged abuses of human rights, the report mentions that in 2018, authorities were often hostile to the efforts of local NGOs, restricted their activities, selectively cooperated with them, and were not responsive to their views.

The government ignored reports issued by human rights NGOs and only met with registered groups. State-run media rarely reported on human rights NGOs and their activities.

Several instances of detention of Viasna's observers are listed among human rights violations in the report. The document also includes statements of human rights organizations - Viasna and BHC - on local elections.

In conclusion, the reviewers emphasize that in 2018 in Belarus, human rights issues included torture; arbitrary arrest and detention; life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; undue restrictions on free expression, the press and the internet, including censorship, site blocking, and criminal libel and defamation of government officials; violence against and detention of journalists; severe restrictions on freedoms of assembly and association, including by imposing criminal penalties for calling for a peaceful demonstration and laws criminalizing the activities and funding of groups not approved by the authorities; restrictions on freedom of movement, in particular of former political prisoners whose civil rights remained largely restricted; failure to account for longstanding cases of politically motivated disappearances; restrictions on political participation; corruption in all branches of government; allegations of pressuring women to have abortions; and trafficking in persons.

Authors of the report state that Belarusian authorities at all levels operated with impunity and failed to take steps to prosecute or punish officials in the government or security forces who committed human rights abuses.