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EU Publishes Human Rights And Democracy 2018 Report. What About Belarus?

In 2018 the human rights situation in Belarus has not improved, the EU annual report on the human rights and democracy in the world states.

Most restrictive laws impacting on fundamental freedoms have not been amended.

The report lists a number of problems and situations in Belarus last year and prompted negative reactions from the international community.

Executions, elections and detentions

Activities of unregistered organisations were decriminalised but fines were instead added into the administrative code. The registration process remained extremely complicated.

Freedom of association remained also seriously compromised by restricted access to financing through the requirement to register foreign funding.

An independent Human Rights Institution has not been established. No major actions have been taken to implement the National Human Rights Action Plan of 2016.

Abolition Of The Death Penalty. Why Minsk Keeps Beating Around The Bush

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The February 2018 local elections did not comply with a number of key international standards for credible, inclusive and transparent elections.

The work of the expert group on behalf of the President to study the OSCE/ODIHR recommendations was suspended and no steps to amend the Electoral Code were taken in 2018.

The main challenges continue to be marked by the substantial number of detentions and fines applied to opposition activists, human rights defenders, journalists and trade unionists.

 

Several high-profile cases as the so-called BelTA case against journalists of several independent media outlets and guilty verdicts for leaders of the independent trade union.

Several cases of discrimination on sexual orientation and gender identity, including harassment, homophobic discourse, hate speech and violence against LGBT individuals were reported.

On the positive side, this March the LGBTQI NGO called “Outloud/Makeout” was registered.

Financing

Nonetheless, the Belarusian authorities engaged more on human rights discussions during the regular meetings such as the Human Rights Dialogue and the Coordination Group.

The EU has doubled its financial assistance to Belarus. A total of more than €120 million was allocated to Belarus in 2014-2018. €53-77 million more is planned in 2019-2020 from the European Neighbourhood Instrument.

Belarus also benefits from support under the European Instrument for Human Rights and Democracy (3 million for 2018-2020) and Support to Civil Society (€5 million for 2018- 2020).

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