Newly-appointed UN Rapporteur on Belarus human rights situation grants interview to Belsat

The UN Human Rights Council has appointed a new Special Rapporteur on human rights in Belarus: French political scientist Anaïs Marin who will soon take over from Hungarian human rights activist Miklos Haraszti has granted an interview to our channel.

Anaïs Marin is a political scientist, university lecturer, member of OSCE observation missions, author of publications on domestic and foreign policy of Russia, Azerbaijan and Belarus. Our country has been in her focus for over 10 years.

“I put forward my own candidature independently, without the support of any organization or country. The procedure was transparent and quite fast. In July, there were eight candidates. Then a group of five ambassadors (out of 47 who sit in the UN Human Rights Council) made a shortlist, and Council President Vojislav Šuc put my candidacy to a vote and it was approved yesterday,” she told Belsat.

A UN Special Rapporteur on human rights takes on much responsibility, but this job is not paid. The major task is to assess the situation in the country and make a report which will be submitted to both the UN and the authorities of the country studied.

“The situation should be monitored on a regular basis. We should respond if there is some violation, contact the authorities and inform the international community. The main purpose of this process is to help the Belarusian government fulfill its responsibilities under the United Nations Charter and other international instruments in the field of human rights,” Anaïs Marin said.

Belarus (together with Burundi, Cambodia, Haiti and Iran) still remains in the group of 14 countries for which the UN appoints special human rights rapporteurs. Calling the post ‘politicized’, the Belarusian authorities does not recognize the mandate. Anaïs Morin, however, intends to be in contact both with the authorities and human rights defenders.

“My job is to make independent and objective assessment. And I am neither French official nor representative of an international organization. I do not work for either Belarusian government or for Belarusian human rights organizations. I work to improve the human rights situation in Belarus. Journalists also should know what my mission is and keep balance,” the newly appointed Speccial Rapporteur stressed.

In turn, which problems do Belarusian human rights give priority to?

“Freedom of peaceful assembly and association, prohibition of torture, the death penalty in Belarus, the lack of the authorities’ effective cooperation with non-governmental organizations – all the issues will be raised,” Viktoriya Fyodarava, Chairwoman of the Law Initiative, said.

Belarusian human rights activists do hope that the government accepts Anaïs Marin as the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur and invite her to Belarus.

Alyaksandr Papko, Belsat