HRHF, FIDH, HRW urge UN Human Rights Council to renew mandate of Special Rapporteur on Belarus
Delegations at the UN Human Rights Council should support the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus, Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) said in a joint letter.
"At its 38th session in June, the Human Rights Council (HRC) will consider the human rights situation in Belarus. Since the creation of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur in 2012, there has been no systematic improvement in the human rights situation in Belarus. On the contrary, all legislative and systemic restrictions on freedom of expression and association remain in place, and violations of civil and political rights are coupled by economic and social rights’ abuses," the letter said.
Most frequent violations include regular crackdowns on peaceful protests, repressive amendments of media laws, harassment of human rights defenders and lawyers. The death penalty is yet another issue of concern, on which the government of Belarus "has not shown a real willingness to cooperate with international human rights mechanisms and continues to execute prisoners in violation of international standards."
"As Belarus is not a member of the Council of Europe and despite the fact that Belarus has refused to cooperate, the Special Rapporteur remains the only independent international mechanism to effectively monitor human rights violations in Belarus and a critical tool for international oversight over the situation on the ground. Therefore, renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur remains crucial," stress the international rights groups.
The report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus, Miklós Haraszti, will be presented to the Council on June 25.
The expert criticizes Belarus over lack of progress in numerous spheres of social and political life related to human rights.
“During the six years since the Human Rights Council established the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, Belarus has been governed by a purposefully repressive legal framework, aggravated by regularly recurring, centrally planned violent crackdowns on peaceful demonstrators, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), political opponents, human rights activists and independent media workers,” Haraszti said.