2009 02/11

The UN

According to a Brest human rights activist Raman Kisliak, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has registered an individual complaint by a For Freedom movement member Inha Abramava. The complaint was submitted on 22 December 2008, after a number of unsuccessful appeals against the activist’s detention in Brest Leninski Police Department Temporary Detention Facility, where the woman was reportedly subjected to sex discrimination, which is prohibited by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
The pro-democratic activist was detained together with another opposition activist Yury Bakur by the Brest police on 10 October 2007 as they were tying blue ribbons to rainwater pipes to attract public attention to the upcoming European March demonstration on. On 11 October Mrs. Abramava was sentenced to 5 days of arrest for ‘using foul language.’
In her complaint, Inha Abramava claims that the prison’s staff is purely male, which resulted in numerous facts of sex discrimination, e.g. the cell’s toilet could be observed by the guards. Besides, every cell has a video surveillance system in it, which enables the guards to control what is going on inside them.
‘This is the first Belarusian complaint of the kind registered at the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. It deals with an issue, which is topical for every region of Belarus. As far as I know, there is only one temporary detention facility in the country with female guards in its staff. In the rest of them female convicts are guarded by males only.’ says the human rights expert.
According to Mr. Kisliak, it was not until 2004 when Belarus ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women that Belarusian women were allowed to address the Committee with complaints.
Ales LETA,
Belarusian Legal Portal,

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