Human Rights House Foundation

Belarus

Image: Human rights defenders are ready to help to complete and implement the National Human Rights Plan

Human rights defenders are ready to help to complete and implement the National Human Rights Plan

Representatives of the Belarusian human rights organizations supported the adoption of the Interagency Human Rights Action Plan and expressed their joint position regarding its content and possibilities of improvement.

Friday, 04 November 2016, by Belarusian HRH

Such a plan was developed for the first time in the entire history of Belarus and contains a number of measures aimed at improving the human rights situation in the country. For example, the plan for 2016 - 2019 contains steps for implementation of the recommendations made within the Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Council. 

Belarusian human rights defenders issued a joint position on this document, where they noted the need to improve the plan based on the proposals of the Belarusian human rights organizations, as well as on the recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Committee against Torture and Human Rights Committee, which will be formulated in the near future.

After analyzing the document, human rights defenders say that it has partially taken into consideration 17 out of the 22 topics, on which the coalition of the Belarusian human rights organizations presented their proposals. For example, human rights defenders proposed to supplement the Action Plan with activities improving the situation with such human rights as freedom of expression and association, religious freedom and social and economic rights. Also, according to the human rights defenders, description of some activities listed in the Action Plan is vague, fails to provide for measurable results and as such cannot result in quality improvements in the situation of human rights in Belarus.

Human rights defenders believe that the effective implementation of the Plan is only possible on condition of the process transparency and with the involvement of all the parties concerned. The Joint position emphasizes the willingness of the human rights defenders to participate in the development and implementation of detailed action plans for the relevant ministries and agencies to implement the activities provided for in the Interagency Plan.  

The interest of the human rights community in the most effective implementation of the Plan was emphasized among others by the chairman of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Aleh Hulak, who commented on the joint position of human rights defenders: "It is very important that we have a joint position, that the human rights community and the leading organizations share a common vision and understand that this Action plan, first of all, is a guide for us in our work. In the joint position it is indicated that not all of our proposals have been included in the plan, but there are several areas for further work. Firstly, the additions to the Plan itself. This is possible at the level of developing steps for plan's implementation, it is important to speak about it and to propose concrete actions. The second point is the implementation of what has already been planned with the maximum effect. And this is also a very important issue and a big challenge for us how to achieve it."

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The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is fairly new (in force since 2006) mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council, which assesses the extent to which each of the 193 UN member states fulfills its international human rights obligations. UPR aims to improve the human rights situation "on the ground", to promote the implementation of the state's obligations in the field of human rights and to strengthen the capacity of the state to protect human rights.

Belarusian HRH

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