Belarus only country to willingly hold OSCE PA

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The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus Miklós Haraszti arrived in Belarus as a private person. Official Minsk does not recognize his official mandate.

This is how the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to the arrival of Haraszti to the capital to attend the session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has opened Minsk

All the participants were welcome, but some were less welcome than others. Among them was the UN special rapporteur on Belarus Miklos Haraszti. Belarusian Foreign Ministry once again stated that it would not recognize his mandate even during the assembly.

“Obviously, there is not enough cooperation from the authorities. Because what I represent is no less than the expectation of the international community for the implementation of universal human rights,” said Mr. Haraszti.

Why the UN is worried about human rights in Belarus?

The Special Rapporteur stressed that he would present his vision of the human rights situation in Belarus on the second day. None of the invited state officials turned up at the Parallel Forum.

Mass arrests in March, the so-called Patriots’ Case, even the cases of seven years ago are not closed — the ex-presidential candidate Ales Mikhalevich is still a defendant in the case of massive disturbances in December 2010. Activists had promised to hold pickets to remind participants of the Assembly about the pressing problems of the Belarusian civil society.

Human rights activists were not impressed by the release of defendants in the patriots case.

Not only was the case not closed, but there are still two prisoners — such gestures by Minsk are simply not credible, since human rights are used as a bargaining chip for preferential loans.

In addition, there is less and less desire in the West to support human rights initiatives in general. Financial assistance is now offered primarily for projects aimed at cooperation with the authorities or government organizations.

Despite this, the OSCE PA Assembly is expected to have at least two reports on the situation with human rights in Belarus. We should not expect flattering words towards the meeting hosts.

Usevalad Shlykau, Belsat

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