On March 5, 2012, the discussion of the yearly report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders took place at the UN Human Rights Council.
Representatives of Belarus made an oral statement concerning the case of the imprisoned human rights defender Ales Bialiatski:
“We attentively studied the report of the special rapporteur on situation of human rights defenders and regret to state that she was unable to discriminate in the case of Ales Bialiatski, most probably yielding to the stereotype opinion, spread by certain European structures and human rights NGOs.
We would like to once more confirm to the special rapporteur that the court verdict has no relation to human rights activities of Bialiatski and is connected solely to violations of the tax legislation by him. Citizen Bialiatski didn’t declare the large sums of money which he received from sources outside Belarus, which a a gross violation of the present tax legislation...”
Representatives of many European countries reacted to this statement by expressing a high respect for human rights activities of Ales. A representative of Hungary even compared him to the Czech politician and civil activist Vaclav Gavel.