HRC48: Item 4 – Interactive Dialogue – Belarus interim oral update
24 September 2021
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Since the Human Rights Council mandated the OHCHR Examination of Belarus, the human rights situation has further deteriorated.
Many of our Belarusian colleagues and friends are now in detention or prison as a result of their human rights work, and almost all others have been forced to flee the country. The Belarusian government has sought to drastically weaken independent civil society with arrests and the liquidation of NGOs.
We particularly highlight the case of Marfa Rabkova, who has now spent over a year in prison for her human rights work. We call on the Council to raise her case and others with the Belarusian authorities and to push for their release.
The right response of the Human Rights Council is to continue its close scrutiny of the situation and to maintain its pressure on Belarus to implement the Council’s recommendations and honour its human rights obligations. Member and observer states should also be ensuring full support for the Examination and the position of the Special Rapporteur.
We have been disappointed that the new OHCHR Examination has not received all of the funding that the Council signed off on at HRC36. We are also worried that it has taken far longer to become fully operational than originally anticipated.
We ask the High Commissioner whether the positions envisaged in the budget for this year that have been cut will be included in next year’s budget? We also ask her whether it is realistic that the Examination can complete its mandate in the time remaining?