2010 13/05
Алесь Бяляцкі (Менск)

Ales Bialacki (Меnsk)

The chairman of Human Rights Centre “Viasna”, vice-president of International federation of human rights Ales Bialiatsky commented the discussion of the report of Belarusian government in the frame of the Universal periodic review procedure in the Human Rights Council of UNO. On May 12 in Geneva the human rights defender was present at the discussion together with representatives of Belarusian non-governmental organizations who prepared an alternative report about the fulfillment of the Republic of Belarus its international obligations in the field of human rights.

Alternative document – “Materials of Belarusian NGO prepared for Universal periodic review on Belarus in Human Rights Council of UNO” – was prepared by a group of Belarusian NGO in August-October 2009 for conveyance to the office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. In these materials Belarusian human rights defenders suggested 47 recommendations for improving the conditions of human rights in Belarus.

Ales Bialiatsky noted that recommendations to Belarusian government from national delegations greatly coincide with recommendations of the authors of the alternative report.

– When discussing Belarusian report the recommendations of the reporters were from one point of view many-sided, but from the other point of view same issues repeated many times. First it concerns the position of European Union countries. Canada also had time to speak. In fact all representatives of democratic countries voiced concern about death penalty existence and two latest sentences. Switzerland even recommended giving out bodies of the shoot Zhuk and Juzepchuk to their relatives. Some also asked to set a moratorium on death penalty for its later abolition, – tells the human rights defender.

A.Bialiatsky told about the other problems of Belarus which were criticized by the representatives of international society.

Almost all reporters highlighted a difficult situation with mass media in Belarus and recommended to simplify the system of registration, to ease the conditions of work and to stop pursuit of journalists.

It was recommended to abrogate article 193.1 of the Criminal Code and this way to simplify the working conditions of human rights defenders.

The problem of necessity of further election reform was also paid attention to. Even Turkish delegation pointed at the fact that there is information about violations of election legislation of the Republic of Belarus which took place during the election to local council. Turkey recommended further reforms of election legislation.

The problem of political disappearance was being discussed. In particular, delegations of France and Netherlands told about the necessity of investigation of such cases in Belarus.

There also was an opinion that Belarus must sign the correspondent facultative protocol against tortures, because there were facts of tortures during arrests and while keeping people in prisons and pretrial detention wards entered.

French delegation paid attention to the existence of political prisoners in Belarus and it claimed to stop this practice.

There were many claims from the representatives of Czech.
Our country was represented on a high level by Mikalay Khvastou – permanent representative of Belarus in UNO and other international organizations in Geneva

Mr. Khvastou had enough time to answer questions during the discussion.
-In his answers he dwelled on issues of death penalty, peaceful demonstrations, and tortures, freedom of associations and freedom of mass media. And in these answers he either declined answering questions or told lies, – noted Ales Bialiatsky

-In particular, it concerned the question of freedom of associations. He told that there are no problems with it and all organizations can be registered. Khvastou also said that there are also no problems with freedom of mass media. And I’m quoting here: “Belarus is one of the world leaders in the state of Internet freedom” – it was very funny to hear in the context of a new legislation on Internet regulation, which they wanted to adopt.

As far as death penalty is concerned M.Khvastou didn’t say anything concrete, he only referred to the results of referendum and noted that Belarus aims to cooperation in this question.

Experts think that the fact that Belarus was represented by M.Khvastou shows that the status declined. Usually on this level Belarus was represented by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. Perhaps, this fact is a demonstration how important the procedure of Universal periodic review is for Belarus.

Quoting spring96.org
Prepared by Ales LETA

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