HRC52 – Item 4 – Interactive Dialogue – OHCHR Examination of Belarus
22 March 2023
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Thank you, President.
When the Human Rights Council mandated the High Commissioner to conduct an examination of the human rights situation in Belarus many delegations argued that the Council was pursuing an incremental approach towards the human rights situation. Such an examination certainly does not constitute interference in Belarus’s internal affairs. Nevertheless, since that time the human rights situation has deteriorated by every measure.
We have therefore joined over 30 other Belarusian and international organisations in calling on the Human Rights Council to establish an independent investigative mechanism to complement and follow-up on the work of the existing OHCHR examination.
The report of the examination, alongside recent events in Belarus, further reinforces the need for the Council to take stronger action, including for the following reasons:
- The report of the examination clearly identifies patterns of violations which likely amount to crimes against humanity, and such violations continue to occur;
- Belarus has recently withdrawn from the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, depriving victims of violations of one of the last remaining mechanisms to seek redress for serious violations;
- The sentencing of Nobel Peace Prize winner Ales Bialatski to a decade in prison, along with his Viasna colleagues Valiantsin Stefanovich and Uladzimir Labkovich solely for their human rights work, is only the most visible of Belarus’s serious violations.
We ask the Deputy High Commissioner what more can be done to assist the more than 1,400 political prisoners being kept in inhumane conditions in Belarus?