2013 16/11

At the 109th session, held from October 14 to November 1, the UN Human Rights Council considered Zhodzina case and found a violation of the rights of peaceful assembly and dissemination of information in the complaint “Kamarouski against Belarus”. The violations were committed by Zhodzina authorities in 2008 in respect of a group of citizens, among whom was Alexander Kamarouski.

Let’s remind you that on 23.03.2008 after the peaceful assembly of “Freedom Day” and the 90th anniversary of the Belarusian People’s Republic (celebrated in Belarus and among the world on 25.03.2008) and laying flowers to the memory monument “Heroes live forever” in Zhodzina civil society activists Yury Zhylko, Aliaksandr Kamarouski, Paval Krasouski and Yuri Silkin were arrested and convicted 7-days arrest.

This happened despite the fact that the organizers have refused the initially declared in the Executive Committee peaceful and festive events (demonstration, concert and rally) and informed citizens about it. Even after this unjustified ban and violations of the right to peaceful assembly and free dissemination of information the authorities have found a reason to prosecute the applicants for their initiative, dedicated to the “Freedom Day”.

The detention and cruel punishment just for the festive commemoration of Belarusian heroes, who fought for the freedom of the country – it looks like a deliberate violence, intimidation and harassment of social and political activity, manifested on a significant date for Belarusian national independence.

The human rights activist, Aliaksiey Lapitski, who helped to prepare the complaint in the UN Human Rights Committee for Aliaksandr Komorowski on whose behalf the request to the Committee for Human Rights of the UN was supplied and who also suffered from the actions of militia officers dressed in civilian clothes (after the attack of the unknown photos were forcibly removed from his photo camera) noted in connection with the decision of the UN Human Rights Committee on Zhodzina complaint:

- Since both the applicants of a peaceful assembly of citizens, guaranteed by Art. 35 of the Constitution, were illegally punished – in Zhodzina in accordance with the Law “On Mass Events” not a single application for a picketing, rally or march was allowed. Today the application procedure got even more complicated – according to the new decision of the Executive Committee of Zhodzina № 1020 from 27.07.2012 applicants are required to add to the application copies of agreements with the militia, public utility and medical services, is physically impossible to make before the approval of the Executive Committee. At the same time quasi-public pro-government bodies (such as the BRSM or “White Russia”) hold their own public events according to another order under the same law “under decision of executive bodies”.

They do it as it should be in the framework of the positive obligations of the state in relation to a peaceful assembly – absolutely without any paying the militia, public utilities or medics… who anyway are required to carry out their functions as public services and institutions, contributing the realization of the constitutional rights of citizens.

Thus, there is a discrimination against ordinary citizens’ initiatives that facing unacceptable conditions for realization of their inalienable, constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms on which the government of Belarus has positive charges. And the interpretation of the law used by the authorities, create insurmountable obstacles to ordinary citizens and organizations which order peaceful assemblies, because these initiatives are compared with “other events” of commercial kind or sports oriented. Without having any income from the planned events, their organizers – citizens (or NGOs) are forced to conclude commercial contracts with government agencies. (?)

UN Human Rights Committee in the case “Kamarouski against Belarus” found a violation of Art. 21 and Art. 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, committed by Zhodzina authorities in respect of the applicant from Zhodzina.

Ales Volny
Belarusian Legal Portal

Photo by Ales Lapitski

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