On October 28, the UN General Assembly in New York hosted a presentation and interactive dialogue of national delegations on the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Miklos Haraszti.
After the presentation of the report, representative of the official Belarusian delegation in his speech noted once again that Belarus did not recognize the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, and, accordingly, his report, and refused to cooperate with him. The representative of Belarus said his country viewed the establishment of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus as an attempt by the EU to put pressure on the country, which is pursuing an independent policy. He also said that within the Universal Periodic Review procedures, Belarus implemented most of the recommendations, and now as part of this procedure, it was engaged in consultations, including with the country’s civil society.
During an interactive dialogue, several countries, such as the EU states, the U.S., Switzerland and Norway, supported the report of the Special Rapporteur and expressed concern about the human rights situation in the country and once again called on the Belarusian authorities to cooperate with the special procedures and mechanisms of the United Nations, in particular to ensure access to the territory of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus.
Several other countries, including those representing the Non-Aligned Movement, such as Cuba, Venezuela, Laos, Russia, China, Iran, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe, Nicaragua, spoke against the special country mandates as such and urged to discuss issues of human rights solely within the UPR procedures.
The hearing was attended by a delegation of Belarusian and international human rights organizations: representatives of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” (deputy chairman Valiantsin Stefanovich and a member of the board of the organization Tatsiana Reviaka), chair of the Belarusian Association of Journalists Znanna Litvina, director of the Belarusian Human Rights House Hanna Herasimava, as well as representatives of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the human Rights House Foundation (HRHF). On October 29, the human rights defenders held a public hearing at the Columbia University of New York with the participation of the Special Rapporteur Miklos Haraszti, who later, together with Valiantsin Stefanovich, took part in a general meeting with the ambassadors of the EU countries, as well as the invited ambassadors of Chile, Costa Rica, Botswana, Peru and Montenegro.
On October 30, the human rights activists will hold hearings arranged for the UN delegation by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Amnesty International and the Belarusian Human Rights House.