Belarus: systemic and systematic human rights violations documented

Miklos Haraszti

In the Special Rapporteur’s assessment, human rights remain systemically and systematically restricted, especially in the case of the freedoms of association, of assembly, and of expression and opinion, as well as the guarantees of due process and fair trial.

The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus was established by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 20/13. In the present report, the Special Rapporteur, Miklós Haraszti, who officially assumed his functions on 1 November 2012, describes the prevailing situation of human rights in Belarus since the establishment of the mandate on 5 July 2012 and includes information received until 31 March 2013.

The aftermath of the presidential elections held on 19 December 2010 and the ensuing deterioration in the situation of human rights still mark the human rights context of Belarus,” says the Special Rapporteur.

The Special Rapporteur is concerned at the lack of rule of law in Belarus, in particular with regard to procedural guarantees, as envisaged by article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Multiple meetings with human rights defenders and victims of human rights violations reflected a lack of trust in the judiciary, as well as a lack in the belief that rights would be protected by the judiciary over the interests of the authorities.

The structural character of the fact that widespread human rights violations remain unaddressed is underlined by the centralization of the legislative and executive powers in the office of the President. Presidential decrees are used as the main, and in fact, supreme legislative mechanism in the country.

More specifically, the Special Rapporteur addresses the following issues in his report:

  1. Right to life and the death penalty;
  2. Enforced disappearances;
  3. Prison conditions, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment;
  4. Treatment of political opponents, human rights defenders and activists;
  5.  Independence of judges and lawyers;
  6.  Fair trial;
  7. Arbitrary arrest and detention;
  8. Freedom of expression and opinion;
  9. Freedom of peaceful assembly;
  10. Freedom of association and human rights defenders;
  11. Discrimination;
  12. Treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons;
  13. Labour rights and trade unions;
  14. Elections.

See the full text of the report

Report Special Rapporteur (2013) by freeales

Source : Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF)

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