2011 26/09
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The UN Human Rights Council has considered the interim report on the situation of political prisoners, human rights defenders, journalists and lawyers following the 19 December 2010 presidential election in Belarus.

Unfortunately, during the preparation of the report, representatives of the High Commissioner’s Office were not allowed entering the country to conduct a direct monitoring. Therefore, the report was based on open sources, media publications, reports by NGOs (including ones by the Committee of International Control of the Human Rights Situation in Belarus), as well as the documents submitted by the Belarusian authorities.

The report features all the key cases of political prisoners, facts of harassment of human rights defenders, in particular, the recent arrest of Ales Bialiatski, as well as the situation with lawyers, journalists, freedom of peaceful assembly and association. Much attention is paid to the issues of torture and inhuman treatment in Belarus.

During the interactive dialogue, representatives of the Belarusian authorities disagreed on the activities of the High Commissioner’s Office, in general. The repeatedly stated that they were against “the politicization of the Human Rights Council’s work” and discussing the issues dealing with separate countries. According to the Belarusian delegation, the close attention to the situation in the country is the result of the pressure put by the EU, who “has been pursuing its own economic interests in Belarus”.

“Despite the fact that each NGO had only 2 minutes, the speeches were closely monitored by member-states; then they are cited in official reports and UN documents. The objective of these speeches is not only attracting attention to certain issues, but also to show that the international community is closely watching it. In my speech, I tried to voice the key recommendations on the changes of the situation with freedom of peaceful assembly in Belarus drafted by the Committee, including the introduction of a milder punishment for organizing and involvement in “illegal” public events, as well as demands to refrain from interfering with the work of journalists and human rights defenders during their conduct”, says Mrs. Anna Dobrovolskaya, representative of the Committee of the International Control of the Human Rights Situation in Belarus.

The final report is expected to be presented at the Council’s 20th session in June 2012.

Source: spring96.org

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