Alert: Afghanistan one year on: open season on the defence of human rights

Belarus: the persecution of dissenting voices continues

50th Session of the Human Rights Council

Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on Belarus

Thank you, Mr. President.

We welcome the report of the Special Rapporteur and thank her for her important work on Belarus.

The OMCT shares the views expressed in the report: the human rights situation in Belarus is far from improving and anyone perceived as disloyal continues to be systematically persecuted.

Only last week: Uladzimir Matskevich, a philosopher and a public figure was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment; Ekateryna Andreeva, a journalist who has already been serving a sentence of 2 years, is facing a new trial on charges of state treason that could lead to 7 to 15 years of imprisonment; Andrei Machalau, a human rights lawyer, who was disbarred last year, has been sentenced to 2 years of imprisonment.

In just two weeks we will be commemorating the first anniversary of the arbitrary detention of the leaders of Human Rights Center ‘Viasna’ – Ales Bialiatski, Valiancin Stefanovich, and Uladzimir Labkovich. Four other Viasna members are also imprisoned, as well as at least 30 journalists and media workers and four lawyers. There are more than 1200 political prisoners in Belarus.

Torture and ill-treatment both against political detainees and other prisoners remain widespread.

International scrutiny is essential, and we, therefore, call on the Human Rights Council to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus.

Madame Special Rapporteur: in case your mandate is prolonged, what will be the focus of your next thematic report?

Thank you.


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