human rights in Belarus tagged posts

Viasna and FIDH at UN Human Rights Council: statement by Valentin Stefanovich

stefanovich at UNHRC23

Today, at the 23rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus Miklos Haraszti presented his report on the situation in the country.

International human rights organizations and Valentin Stefanovich, Deputy Chair of the Human Right Center Viasna, were invited to participate after the UN member states had a chance to exchange their views.

Find the full version of the presentation made by the Belarusian human rights defender who spoke on behalf of the HRC Viasna, an FIDH member organization in the country :

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Report on human rights in Belarus presented at UN Human rights Council

HRC23-presentation UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus

Today, UN Special Rapporteur Miklós Haraszti has presented his report on the human rights situation in Belarus at the 23rd session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The presentation of the report, which was published in March, took almost ten minutes. Special Rapporteur Miklós Haraszti listed the main points of the report and noted that he had not been able to visit Belarus because the government there refused to issue him an entry visa.

In his report, UN Special Rapporteur noted that the situation with political prisoners is especially grave: “When taken together with information we have received about psychological and physical pressure on prisoners, detention conditions in prison facilities can be qualified as substandard and even as torture.”

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Paleckis: Belarus report discussion was emotional and fiery

Justas_Paleckis_EP rapporteur on Belarus

The report has been discussed at a meeting of the European Parliament Committee for Foreign Affairs in Brussels on May 29.

European Parliament’s rapporteur on Belarus Justas Paleckis expected an emotional discussion and it was fiery, the author of the report, he told to BelaPAN.

The report was based on Justas Paleckis’ March visit to Minsk and aroused a mixed response in Belarus. The MEP admitted that the statement ‘improvement of the human rights situation in Belarus’ was rather lame and would be revised.

The most important thing about today’s discussion in the European Parliament is the fact that they did not simply discuss bad news from Belarus, they discussed ways of solving the problem, Paleckis said.

Paleckis drew attention to the fact that his report did not urge to lift ...

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Human Rights Defenders: mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus should be renewed


Belarusian Human Rights Defenders hold briefing as part of the United Nations Human Rights Council Session that Opened on May 27 in Geneva.

This event was organized by the international human rights organizations Civicus, Human Rights Watch, FIDH, Amnesty International, and Human Rights House Network. Belarusian participants in the briefing included Oleg Gulak, Chairman of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, Tatyana Revyako, representative of the shuttered Human Rights Center Viasna, and Andrey Bastunets, an attorney from the Belarusian Association of Journalists.

In an interview with BelaPAN, Oleg Gulak said that the briefing attracted a great deal of attention. “Over 60 diplomats attended,” he said. “We told them about the situation in Belarus and about how we see it...

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Belarus – climate of fear: limited freedom for people charged for politically motivated cases


Belarus : Climate of fear 

Limited freedom for people prosecuted or charged for politically motivated cases

In addition to the 11 detainees identified by international organisations as political prisoners, there is a group of people who have been convicted or prosecuted in politically motivated criminal cases in connection with the 19 December 2010 events and resulting in significant restrictions on their freedom of two forms:

A) Restrictions on freedom without assignment to an open correctional facility (known as domashnyaya khimiya). These individuals must be at home at an appointed time. They are regularly checked by the supervisory agency (the police) and are only allowed to travel to other cities or abroad with the permission of this agency.

Sviataslau Baranovich was sentenced to thr...

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Belarus : preventative supervision of activists – one wrong step can bring you back to jail

As the convictions of 24 political prisoners pardoned by the Belarusian President since August 2011 have not been expunged, a number of procedural measures have followed them as individuals with a criminal record. All individuals released have been placed on watch lists, giving police officials the right to visit them. If they are brought in on administrative charges three times in one year, they face preventative supervision, which carries more serious restrictions.

Courts have placed three activists under preventative supervision for administrative violations connected with their social activism. Violation of this regime, which places significant restrictions on the freedom of the activists, may entail repeated arrest and imprisonment. These activists are:

1) Pavel Vinahradau – Activist...

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Amnesty International: no changes with human rights situation in Belarus

Amnesty International report on Belarus

The influential international human rights watchdog has released its 2012 report.

It is stated in the report that political prisoners still remain in Belarus (5 people are named – Mikalaj Statkevich, Pavel Sevyarynets, Edward Lobau and Zmitser Dashkevich, Ales Bialiatski). Some people received additional prison terms, while civil society activists face violations of their rights to freedoms of speech, assembly and associations.

It is also stated that Belarusian human rights defenders faced various forms of harassment last year, including a the ban to leave Belarus. In 2012, 15 human rights defenders, journalists and opposition activists were sentenced to administrative detentions for swearing in public places.

Prisoners of conscience

Six people remained in prison in connection with their ...

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European Parliamant will discuss Paleckis’ report on Belarus on May 29


Recommendations by Justas Paleckis, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Belarus, will be debated by the organization’s Foreign Affairs Committee on May 29.

In his draft report, the Lithuanian politician suggests that the European Union suspend the visa ban against key Belarusian officials. He insists that the human rights situation in Belarus improved in 2012.

As Mr. Paleckis told to BelaPAN, work is currently under way to translate his report into 23 European languages. “We will discuss the document in a week and then invite proposals for revising it,” he said. “In August, the Foreign Affairs Committee will give second reading to the report. In September, the European Parliament will discuss it during its plenary session.”

If there are major disagreements between different...

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