EU insists on reinstatement of former political prisoners’ civil and political rights
“In 2015 the overall human rights situation in Belarus remained marked by systematic human rights violations,” says the Annual report on human rights and democracy in the world approved by the EU Council on September 20.
“No legislative changes were introduced in view of easing the restrictions on freedom of assembly, association and the media,” the Report says.
At the same time, the EU notes some “positive steps taken by Belarus in the second half of the year.” This included Belarus's proposal to resume the EU-Belarus human rights dialogue which had been interrupted in 2009. The dialogue took place in July in Brussels. Topics discussed included freedom of expression, assembly and association, the death penalty and the fight against torture and ill-treatment, the establishment of a national human rights institution, the rights of the child and multilateral issues.
“Amendments to the law on mass media which came into force in January 2015 tightened state control over the dissemination of information on the internet and via traditional media. The Ministry of Information retains the right to close a news outlet after two warnings,” the EU Council said.
The Report mentions the release political prisoners in August 2015 as a positive development in the country’s human rights record. The EU, however, continues to call for the reinstatement of the civil and political rights of former political prisoners.