HRC47: Item 4 – Interactive Dialogue – Special Rapporteur on Belarus
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Thank you.

Human Rights House Foundation and Belarusian Human Rights House joined 34 other Belarusian and international organisations in recommending that the Council renew the Special Rapporteur’s mandate, and ensure her office is sufficiently resourced and funded. As Belarus’s human rights crisis deepens, the Special Rapporteur’s mandate is more important than ever.

The Special Rapporteur on Belarus remains an accessible and safe channel for Belarusian civil society to deliver diverse and up – to – date information from within the country. However, such updates are becoming increasingly difficult to deliver.

The recent changes to the Criminal Code in Belarus are of real concern. These legislative changes, which went into effect in June, further limit a range of human rights, and target the political opposition, independent media, and dissenting opinion.

And we are gravely concerned for journalist and media manager Andrei Aleksandrov, who has been charged with treason under Article 356 of the Criminal Code and faces up to 15 years in prison for doing his legitimate human rights work. We call for his immediate release and exoneration.

Madam President.

The Special Rapporteur reflects in her report that even the most basic social services are under threat in Belarus at the moment, like access to education. We ask the Special Rapporteur whether she is aware of children being used as a tool for reprisals against human rights defenders, as in the case of the family of Volodymyr Yavorskyy, and what is her assessment of the impact on the children of human rights defenders?

Thank you.