UN Human Rights Council discusses Belarus

The 47th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council has addressed the issue of Belarus. Special Rapporteur Anaïs Marin presented another report on the situation in the country.

Hall of the Human Rights Council. Photo: un.org.

According to “Viasna,” Anaïs Marin said that since her last report (published on May 4th), the situation in Belarus had deteriorated, the country was in deep crisis and continued to be isolated. She noted that the current half-thousand political prisoners are 10 times more than during the previous post-election crisis in 2011.

“In circumstances where the authorities neglect their obligations under international law, I see no other way but to keep pressuring these authorities to start respecting human rights,” Marin said. “Unfortunately, in relation to today’s Belarus we see a systemic deficit in this regard, the entire state system is aimed not at protection, but at curtailing and tightening the suppression of human rights. Therefore, the international community must work collectively to force the authorities of this country to respect human rights.”

UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said during the opening session that the situation in Belarus continues to deteriorate, accompanied by severe restrictions on civic space, including restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, raids against civil society, and independent media, judicial harassment of human rights defenders and journalists.

“We are currently examining the situation in Belarus under resolution 46/20,” Bachelet said. – “I regret that, for its part, the government has decided to terminate the presence of our Senior Human Rights Adviser in Minsk, a position that provided an important point of interaction and a window for cooperation.”

Before the session, 35 Belarusian and international human rights organizations sent a joint letter to representatives of participating States calling for support for an extension of the Special Rapporteur mandate on Belarus.