No changes in the dismal human rights situation in Belarus since the presidential election, Miklós Haraszti, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, said in his recent statement.
“During the four months since the October presidential elections, no changes have been initiated in Belarus to alter the oppressive laws and practices, while numerous cases of new violations of basic rights have emerged,” the statement says.
The 2015 presidential election fell short of democratic standards, and Alyaksandr Lukashenka was reappointed following an ‘unverifiable turnout and an intransparent ballot count’, Mr Haraszti stressed.
Although the Special Rapporteur considers the release of political prisoners to be a good, he states that the dismal state of human rights has remained unchanged in the country. According to Mr Haraszti, the Belarusian authorities have not ceased the systematic harassment of those who attempted to practice their individual, civil, political, and other rights.
The statement recall some of the many violations since the election, e.g. banning Belarusian human rights activist Alena Tankachova from entering the country, fines on organisers of a commemoration of victims of Stalin-era repressions, persecution of participants of student marches, the ‘graffiti’ case, etc.
Miklós Haraszti points out that during hearing the case of graffiti artists, youth activists Pavel Siarhei and Maksim Shytsik, were assaulted by riot police, and Pavel Dabravolski, a journalist covering the abuse for the information Internet portal tut.by, was also brutally beaten.
“Similarly, the practice of sanctioning freelance journalists continued and even worsened. Several contributors to the Poland-based satellite and online TV channel Belsat have been fined while denied registration in Belarus,” the document reads.
In his report, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus recommends the Government of Belarus to engage in a broad reform to bring legislation in compliance with its international human rights obligations and expresses his readiness to ready to cooperate with the authorities.
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. Miklós Haraszti, a Hungarian politician, writer, journalist, human rights advocate and university professor, was appointed special rapporteur on Belarus. He has only been able to meet with representatives of Belarus’ civil society, as Minsk does not recognize the mandate of the special rapporteur on Belarus and denies him an entry visa.