HRDs tell UN Human Rights Committee about importance of independent observation Video
The UN Human Rights Committee is preparing General comments on the right to freedom of assembly and asked non-governmental organizations to report on the observance of this right by sending their ideas and recommendations.
The International Observers Network (ION), an organization that brings together independent observers of peaceful assemblies from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, has become one of three dozen human rights initiatives that have sent their recommendations.
Dmitry Makarov, member of the ION Supervisory Committee, noted that in drawing up the recommendations, it was necessary to emphasize the special status and important role of independent observers.
“We want the Human Rights Committee to call on states to recognize and actively encourage independent observers to monitor, take notes and write reports on assemblies. Observers should not be considered as participants, supporters or agents of organizers of meetings or assemblies. It is important to consider activities of observers separately as part of human rights work,” Makarov said.
Natallia Satsunkevich, a human rights defender of “Viasna” and ION observer, in turn, told about the importance of independent monitoring for Belarus.
“According to the OSCE Guidelines on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly, monitoring of peaceful assembly is an important source of independent information about the behavior of all parties of the assembly. This information can be used in various ways, including as a basis for a dialogue between the authorities, law enforcement agencies and civil society. Monitoring reports help assess the effectiveness of current legislation and how the state fulfills positive obligations to protect the freedom of peaceful assembly.
Unfortunately, in recent years, repressions for human rights work have intensified in Belarus: in 2017 and 2018, our observers were detained during monitoring. We urge the Belarusian authorities to assist independent observers, and we ask international community to pay special attention to the situation in Belarus,” Satsunkevich said.
The recommendations of human rights defenders were voiced at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Committee on March 20. It is known that the first draft of General comments on Article 21 will be presented at the next session of the Committee in July.
The International Observers Network (ION) was established in 2014 and currently unites observers from Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus.
ION Observers Recommendations on Freedom of Assembly