UN Special Rapporteur trying to get to Belarus

2012 2012-06-21T11:18:51+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

Mrs. Margaret Sekaggya, UN special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, soon intends to repeat her address to the Belarusian authorities in attempt to visit the country.

According to Margaret Sekaggya, in 2010 the Office of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders appealed to the Belarusian authorities with such a request, but the visit was denied. She clarified that the request was sent to Belarus’ Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, the BelaPAN news agency says.

Mrs. Sekaggya notes that, if she is allowed to visit Belarus, she will meet with representatives of the government, the country’s civil society and human rights activists to discuss the situation with human rights organizations and human rights defenders in the country.

Special Rapporteur recalled that in March this year she presented her report on human rights defenders, which mentioned Belarus, including the case of the leader of the Human Rights Centre "Viasna" Ales Bialiatski.

At the same meeting, the representative of the Belarusian delegation to the UN in Geneva explained the position of the state on Bialiatski’s case. The official, in particular, said the UN Special Rapporteur "could not understand Bialiatski’s case, apparently succumbing to a stereotypical opinion, which is spread by individual European institutions and human rights non-governmental organizations." As stated by the official representative of Belarus, the judgment of the court "has no relation to Bialiatski’s human rights activities and associated exclusively with the breach of tax laws."

He recommended that the UN Special Rapporteur "did not get involved in the consideration of criminal cases on tax evasion, as it may adversely affect the implementation of her direct functions entrusted to her mandate," but "carefully analyzed the information provided by governments and listened to their views."