Miklós Haraszti again calls on Belarus to engage with UN Special Rapporteur mandate (video)

2016 2016-06-22T13:02:57+0300 2016-06-22T13:03:21+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/harasti_.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Miklós Haraszti, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus

Miklós Haraszti, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus

The oppressive government has not changed since the establishment of the mandate after the brutal crackdown on the post-election protest in December 2010, UN Special Rapporteur Miklós Haraszti said yesterday during the presentation of his forth Report on the situation of human rights in Belarus. “The violations have continued even after the close of my Report and submission in April,” said he.

“Several generations have grown up in Belarus, who do not know or have no experience of what the words pluralism, free artistic creation, free media, labor rights, free enterprise mean in reality,” said the UN Special Rapporteur.

“My findings underline that the current mandated level of scrutiny by the United Nations of compliance by Belarus with its human rights obligations must be maintained, especially in view of the forthcoming parliamentary elections. I reiterate my call towards the authorities to engage with the mandate,” said Miklós Haraszti.

Mr. Haraszti concluded his statement by paying tribute to Belarusian civil organizations and human rights defenders, who “thankfully have endured and continued working in Belarus confronting the often forbidding environment”.

“The Report unfortunately does not reflect the realities of Belarus in an impartial and objective way,” said the country’s official representative. “Belarus responsibly works with the human rights structures under the United Nations. Our country has undergone the UPR twice, in 2010 and 2015. Currently, our government is adopting the country’s first national plan of action on implementation of the recommendations of the UPR and the treaty bodies, the idea of which appeared after President Lukashenka’s meeting with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights last fall. This work has been carried out together with NGOs”.

According to Belarus’ envoy, the government invited Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein to visit the country.

“We have bilateral consultations ongoing with the USA and the European Union. There are no issues that Belarus would not be ready to discuss, including the death penalty and electoral legislation,” said he.

The speaker then concluded that the mandate should be “cancelled as unnecessary”.

Russia’s representative expressed his country’s “deep concern over the continuation of selective adoption of country-specific resolutions of the UNHRC”, transmitting the position of what he said was a group of fourteen “like-minded countries”, Algeria, Bolivia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Ecuador, India, Nicaragua, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and Russia.

The representatives of the EU, Spain, Poland, UK, Iceland, Norway, Australia, Estonia, Ireland, Austria, and Belgium stressed Belarus’ lack of cooperation with the UN Special Rapporteur and other mandate holders, as well as and the impossibility to visit the country.

“The situation of human rights still leaves much to be desired,” said the Polish speaker.

Representatives of the EU countries also stressed that Belarus continued to use the death penalty.

“The OSCE ODIHR recommendations made after the elections of 2012 and 2015 have not been fully implemented,” said the UK representative.

US envoy said Belarus continued to impose “restrictions on opposition parties, civil society and independent media”.

“Freedom of peaceful assembly is routinely denied,” said he.

The question of renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus for another year will be decided by a voting, which will take place on June 30.

The mandate was introduced in 2012 in connection with the massive repression in the country after the 2010 presidential election. In response, the government of Belarus has repeatedly said that it does not recognize the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and will not interact with it.