Civil society organisations call for the immediate operationalisation of HRC’s new mandate on Belarus

64 international and Belarusian organisations led by Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF) call for Human Rights Council Member States and the Office of the High Commissioner to ensure that the new mandate on Belarus meets the demand for accountability for past and on-going human rights violations in Belarus.

Civil society organisations call for the immediate operationalisation of the Human Rights Council’s new mandate on Belarus  

We, the 64 undersigned Belarusian and international human rights organisations, welcome the resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council mandating the High Commissioner to create a new robust monitoring and reporting mandate focused on accountability for human rights violations in Belarus that have taken place since 1 May 2020. In so doing, the Council demonstrated its determination to hold Belarusian authorities to account. This mandate needs immediate action. We urge the international community to support this critical next step. 

The establishment of the High Commissioner’s new mandate is a response to the serious and escalating human rights violations taking place in Belarus and surrounding the August 2020 presidential elections. The mandate should provide a complementary and expert international mechanism to regional accountability processes already under way. Furthermore, it should assist in the identification of those responsible for the most serious violations for future prosecution. 

With the mounting human rights crisis in Belarus, the Council’s action today is timely. It will require ongoing assistance and systematic follow-up by Human Rights Council members and the Office of the High Commissioner. In order for this new accountability mandate to meaningfully and substantively address the human rights crisis in Belarus, it is critical that the Office of the High Commissioner receives the assistance it will need to: 

  1. Ensure that this new mandate is sufficiently funded.
  2. Appoint credible international experts with sufficient experience and expertise, including in international criminal law to fully and completely examine all alleged human rights violations committed in Belarus since 1 May 2020.
  3. Operationalise the mandate with the requisite investigators, forensic experts, gender specialists, and legal analysts.
  4. Provide a sufficient operational window for the mandate.
  5. Report immediately and publicly to the Council on non-cooperation by the Belarusian authorities in the accountability mandate’s work.
  6. Commit to sharing advanced copies of its interim oral report and comprehensive written report with Belarusian, regional, and international civil society in the same manner and at the same time it is shared with member States and Belarusian authorities.

This is an important moment for the United Nations. The Belarusian people demand accountability for past and on-going human rights violations. Member States and the Office of the High Commissioner must ensure that this new mandate meets these demands.

Signed by:

  • Agir ensemble pour les droits humains, France
  • Amnesty International, International
  • ARTICLE 19, United Kingdom
  • Assoiation UMDPL, member of Educational Human Rights House Chernihiv, Ukraine
  • B.a.B.e. Budi aktivna.Budi emancipiran., member of Human Rights House Zagreb, Croatia
  • Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House, Belarus
  • Belarusian Helsinki Committee, member of Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House, Belarus
  • Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan /FIDH, Kyrgyzstan
  • CCE “Almenda”, member of Human Rights House Crimea, Ukraine
  • Center for Civil Liberties, Ukraine
  • Centre for Peace Studies, member of Human Rights House Zagreb, Croatia
  • Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights , Russian Federation
  • CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, South Africa
  • Civil Society and Freedom of Speech Initiative Center for the Caucasus, Russian Federation
  • CROSOL – Croatian Platform for International Citizen Solidarity, member of Human Rights House Zagreb, Croatia
  • DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project), Uganda
  • DRA (Deutsch-Russischer Austausch), Germany
  • ECPM (Together Against the Death Penalty), France
  • Educational Human Rights House – Chernihiv, Ukraine
  • Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center, member of Human Rights House Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan
  • FIDH, France
  • Foundation of Regional Initiatives, Ukraine
  • Georgian Centre for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims – GCRT, member of Human Rights House Tbilisi, Georgia
  • Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor, Armenia
  • Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland
  • Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan
  • Human Rights House Foundation, International
  • Human Rights House Yerevan, member of Human Rights House Yerevan, Armenia
  • Human Rights House Zagreb, Croatia
  • Human Rights Monitoring Institute, Lithuania
  • Human Rights Watch, International
  • humanrights.ch, Switzerland
  • International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), International
  • International Centre for civil initiatives “Our House”, Belarus
  • International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), Switzerland
  • Kharkiv Regional Foundation “Public Alternative”, Ukraine
  • La Strada International, Netherlands
  • Law Society of England and Wales, United Kingdom
  • Legal Initiative, member of Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House, Belarus
  • Legal policy research centre , Kazakhstan
  • Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights, Germany
  • Media Institute, member of Human Rights House Tbilisi, Georgia
  • Mental Health and Human Rights Info, Norway
  • Netherlands Helsinki Committee, Netherlands
  • NGO MART, member of Educational Human Rights House Chernihiv, Ukraine
  • Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Norway
  • Paris Bar / Barreau de Paris, France
  • Pink human rights defender NGO, member of Human Rights House Yerevan, Armenia
  • Promo LEX, Moldova
  • Public Association “Dignity”, Kazakhstan
  • Public Verdict Foundation , Russian Federation
  • Rights Georgia, member of Human Rights House Tbilisi, Georgia
  • RSF, Reporters Without Borders, International
  • Russian Research Centre for Human Rights, Russian Federation
  • SAR Europe, Ireland
  • Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network, Southern Africa
  • Swedish OSCE-network, Sweden
  • UNITED for Intercultural Action, Hungary
  • Viasna Human Rights Centre, member of Baryz Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House, Belarus
  • Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR), France
  • Vostok SOS, member of Educational Human Rights House Chernihiv, Ukraine
  • Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom , International
  • World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), Switzerland
  • ZMINA, member of Human Rights House Crimea, Ukraine

Top photo: Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

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