The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus prepared a report on human rights violations in European countries, Canada and the USA in 2012.
“The aim of the report is to draw attention to the violation of human rights in those countries that traditionally represent themselves as “developed democracies”, to illustrate based on concrete facts their incompliance with their international legal obligations. Human rights, historically being the area of relations between the society and the government, an element of purely internal policies, have started to play a role of a tool for foreign politics in the modern world. More often the relationship between states on human rights issues abandon the principle of equality of partners, pursuing various paths of development with the common objective being the prosperity for their citizens, while increasingly become associated with diktat, pressure and imposition of their «solely accurate opinion»,” Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey introduces the report.
The Ministry discovered the facts of violations of almost all rights laid down in international agreements, starting with racial discrimination and ending with contemporary forms of slavery. Belarus’ western neighbours and the states supporting civil society in our country were especially pecked in the report.
For example, Lithuania was accused of prosecution of journalists and politicians and even … racial discrimination. In particular, an annual march of members of the Lithuanian Nationalist Youth Union in Kaunas was mentioned: “March participants were handing over nationalist leaflets signed by 5 Saeima members. Several march participants were saluting in nazi manner”.
The Belarusian Foreign Office states that in 2012 facts of torture, abuse of freedom of expression, racial discrimination, etc were established in Poland. Moreover, according to Minsk, Poland violates social and economic rights of its citizens: “The worsening economic situation in Poland drives people to despair”. Authors of the report point out that “in 2012, the number of suicides including for the economic reasons increased by 20%”.
Even four pages are devoted to the situation in the USA. In accordance with the report, rights to life, peaceful assembly, self-determination, fair hearing, etc are not observed there. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry reveals crackdown on peaceful protest demonstrations of the «Occupy Wall Street» movement, arrests of journalists and human trafficking. Furthermore, the report says that “the candidates in the Presidential campaign did not have equal participatory opportunities. Only the Democratic and Republican Parties’ candidates were allowed to take part in the national TV debates. Other parties’ candidates staged an alternative debate on 24 October, covered by none of US TV channels”.
Sweden was censured for seeking extradition from the UK of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and for … discrimination of males. “According to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå), the number of men who reported having been victims of sexual violence has increased four-fold in 2011. Measures that the Government took in order to prevent such kind of crimes are not being reported,” the document says.
“Like a kid in a sandbox”
The report has been made with the use of information provided by open sources and foreign services. Harry Pahaniayla, Head of Legal Department at the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, stresses that the facts included in the report are commonly known and therefore, the Foreign Ministry should not have done such a blind alley job.
“Russia is also engaged in the case. This report has been written up in response to western countries’ strong criticising Belarus for gross human rights violations. Our Foreign Ministry’s reaction resembles children’s quarreling in a sandbox: “You are stupid! – You bloody fool!” following the situation is a sovereign right of every state. But one should reduce their own country to order before playing blame game,” he said.