UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus: “Too many issues ignored for too long” Video
On June 2, Anaïs Marin, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation with human rights in Belarus, presented her first report on the human rights situation in the country at the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The Rapporteur reported absence of significant progress in Belarus, including major legislative reforms and a true balance of powers. She also said Belarus lacked political will to protect and promote human rights in good faith.
This leaves “no room for complacency,” the expert said.
“Too many issues I have noted in my report have still caused Belarus to be called to account, too many issues in the past that I reiterate in my report have been ignored for far too long, too many people continue to suffer from the fact that the government does not grant human rights the importance they deserve,” Ms. Marin stressed.
The Special Rapporteur expressed regret that the Belarusian authorities do not recognize the mandate, but added that she was ready to cooperate with the government, when it is ready for such a dialogue.
In his remarks, the representative of Belarus to the UN, Yury Ambrazevich expressed dissatisfaction with the existence of the country mandate and stressed that Belarus would rather “discuss the concerns of the international community directly with concerned members.”
“We repeat that we consider the consideration of the situation of human rights in Belarus at the UN to be inconsistent with the purposes and objectives of the United Nations and the UN Human Rights Council, in particular. We reiterate our principled opposition to the very institution of the country resolutions at the UN Human Rights Council and the UN as a whole,” he said.
The brief comments from the member states that followed supported the renewal of the mandate.
The delegations were well informed about the situation with human rights in Belarus and asked specific questions, Dzmitry Charnykh, lawyer of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, who attended the dialogue, said. According to him, it is evident that the work of human rights defenders was not in vain.
“They were interested in the pre-election situation, asking about the persecution of independent journalists and bloggers, including those who write on environmental issues. Some countries welcomed the fact that the construction of a battery factory has been suspended,” Charnykh said.
“Much was said about the existence of the death penalty, in particular that the families cannot receive the convicts’ bodies and that the place of burial is classified. They welcomed the decriminalization of illegal NGO membership, but denounced its replacement with administrative liability,” he added.
Voting on the Council’s resolutions, including on the issue of extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus, is scheduled for July 11 and 12.