The UN Human Rights Committee has said that the Belarusian authorities violated the right of the deputy chairman of the United Civil Party (UCP) Vasil Paliakou to peaceful assembly, by banning in September 2008 a mass event aimed to urge citizens not to take part in the parliamentary elections, which took place on September 28, 2008.
The UCP activist has received the decision dated July 17.
Vasil Paliakou submitted his complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee after he was unable to protect his rights within the country. In 2008, the Homel City Executive Committee did not allow him to hold a picket, demanding that he paid for police, public utilities and ambulance services.
In its decision, the UN Human Rights Committee says that if the government imposes a restriction on the freedom of peaceful assembly, then it should promote the implementation of the law, instead of looking for unnecessary or inappropriate constraints. And since the government of Belarus decided that only the prohibition of the peaceful assembly could ensure public order and safety, the protection of morals or health or the protection of the rights and freedoms of other persons, it thus violated the applicant’s right to freedom of peaceful assembly under Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Based on the decision of the UN Committee, the government should ensure that victim of violation be provided with “an effective remedy, including a full cost recovery and adequate compensation” and work “to prevent similar violations in the future”. In addition, the Belarusian authorities are required to “change the national law on mass events and the practice of its application so as to ensure that everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly”.
The Belarusian government should publish the decision, including in the Belarusian language, in the state-run media and execute it within 180 days, says the website gomelspring.org.