The Belarusian government plans to soon confirm its invitations for several special rapporteurs of the UN Human Rights Council to visit the country, Yury Ambrazevich, head of the foreign ministry`s Main Directorate for Multilateral Diplomacy, told reporters in Minsk on February 10.
He said that the invitations would be confirmed for the rapporteurs on media freedom and on religious freedom, on the independence of judges, on human trafficking, on migrants` rights, and on violence against women.
When asked by a BelaPAN correspondent why Miklos Haraszti, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Belarus, had received no invitation, Mr Ambrazevich replied, “We don`t believe that he can or is capable of having a constructive dialogue with the government of Belarus because of his peculiar personal qualities and the matter`s prehistory, as well as because the position was instituted without the Belarusian government`s consent”.
He denied that the existence of such a rapporteur enabled Minsk to engage in a constructive dialogue with the UN Human Rights Council. Such mandates should be instituted only if the country in question agrees to that and only then will they contribute to the improvement of the situation, he stressed.
The UN Human Rights Council restored the position of the Council’s rapporteur on Belarus in July 2012, much to the displeasure of the Belarusian government. Mr Haraszti, a Hungarian politician, was appointed special rapporteur on Belarus on September 28, 2012. It is noteworthy that Minsk did not even issue a visa to him.
However, Miklos Haraszti managed to review a broad range of human rights concerns despite not having access to the country and state officials.
“The few policy developments which had taken place did not appear to have had a direct impact on the improvement of the human rights situation, and human rights remained purposefully restricted by a governance system which was devoid of any checks and balances. Violations continued to be systematically carried out through different measures. Presidential decrees, in particular, had created a systemic conjunction between the arbitrary denial of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and the punitive consequences for those who engaged in unauthorized civic activities. Journalists faced intimidation and punishment when attempting to report on unregistered activities,” he stated.
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