2014 13/06

Authors of individual communication submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee on behalf of Ales Bialiatski, President of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” and Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), addressed the Human Rights Committee with an open letter. Antoine Bernard, Director-General of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and Natallia Pinchuk, the wife of the political prisoner Ales Bialiatski, urge the Committee to speed up consideration of the communication that was filed two years ago.

Valiantsin Stefanovich, deputy chairman of the HRC “Viasna” comments: “the communication on behalf of Ales Bialiatski on his wrongful imprisonment as a result of violation of his rights was submitted to the Human Rights Committee on 12 April 2012. According to the communication, refusal of registration of a public association “Viasna” in 2007 and 2009, prosecutor’s warning about the inadmissibility of actions on behalf of an unregistered organization and, finally, the prosecution and conviction of Bialiatski in 2011 comprise a violation of his rights to freedom of association, liberty and security of person and to a fair trial (under Articles 9, 14 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights).

In accordance with the procedure of consideration of communications by the Committee, the state concerned is expected to submit its arguments in response to the communication. But already in July 2012, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Belarus to the UN Office in Geneva sent a note to the Human Rights Committee saying that Belarus unequivocally refuses to cooperate with the Committee on the case, and that it further communications with the Committee in this regard is ceased. Position of the government of Belarus has not changed since then, and it has not made any submissions on the case, although the Human Rights Committee has already sent to Belarus two reminders with the proposal to comment on merits of the case.

Over the last few years, Belarusian government adheres to this position on other cases pending in the Human Rights Committee, thereby violating its obligations under the Optional Protocol to the Covenant. In this regard, it appears that there is no reason to expect a reply from the state in the case of Bialiatski, and for this reason to postpone its consideration by the Human Rights Committee for more than two years. The fact that the state has refused to communicate with the Committee is not an obstacle to the consideration of the complaint, and representatives of Bialiatski urge the Committee to expedite this process.

Ales Bialiatski has been serving his sentence in severe conditions of a penal colony for nearly three years already. Domestic legal remedies have been exhausted, and even very serious international campaign for his release did not change his situation. Decision of the Human Rights Committee as a body whose competence Belarus recognized in accordance with the international treaty will assess his case from the international law perspective. If the Committee finds a violation of the rights of Bialiatski by the state, the latter will have the legal obligation to take measures to provide Ales with an effective remedy in accordance with Article 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

Quoting spring96.org
Prepared by Ales LETA
Belarusian Legal Portal

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