On October 30, 2013 New York City hosted a side event at the UN General Assembly with the participation of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Mr. Miklos Haraszti, and the Belarusian and international human rights defenders: Valiantsin Stefanovich, deputy chairman of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, Zhanna Litvina, leader of Belarusian Association of Journalists, Sasha Koulaeva, head of FIDH’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Desk.
The event was organized by FIDH, Amnesty International and the Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House, and moderated by Amnesty International’s representative to the UN Jose Luis Diaz.
The event aroused great interest and was attended by many members of national delegations to the United Nations, including the ambassadors of a number of EU countries, including Slovakia and Poland.
The Special Rapporteur Haraszti highlighted systematic human rights violations in Belarus and urged the Belarusian authorities to cooperate with the mandate and other UN mechanisms. Human rights activists told about the problems of political prisoners. There were also reports on violations of civil and political rights in Belarus, disregard of international obligations in the framework of the UN, the situation of the independent media, and violations of social and economic rights, with a special emphasis on labor relations and the elements of forced labor. The speakers urged national delegations to support the mandate of the Special Rapporteur as an important tool to cover and discuss the human rights situation in Belarus at a high international level.