Brussels is concerned about the situation in Belarus. Such a position was voiced after a report by Anais Marin, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus.
The content of the report was made public during the UN General Assembly’s 74th Session dedicated to social, humanitarian and cultural issues on Thursday, 17 October in New York., USA.
In her report, Anais Marin outlined challenges to genuine free and fair elections in the country, a pressing concern, with parliamentary elections due to be held in a month, and presidential elections slated for 2020.
After the report, the EU representative said that the content of this document “is of concern, especially considering that for the sixth year in a row the special rapporteur has been faced with a lack of cooperation from Belarus.”
The representative also stressed that according to the document, Belarus has not made the necessary progress in implementing reforms and continues to restrict fundamental freedoms.
“The report says that Belarus only creates the illusion of compliance with international standards, while unfavourable conditions for the expression of opposing opinions remain, which is a violation of political human rights, and also impedes the exercise of freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
We urge the Belarusian government to ensure full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms before, during and after the election cycle, as well as create favourable conditions for people to take part in government activities,” said the EU speaker.
“We must adhere to the principles of the rule of law and human rights,” the representative of the EU stressed. “This is key to shaping effective policies. The EU uses all possible diplomatic tools to remind Belarus of its obligations in the area of human rights.”
The representatives of Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, and Lithuania expressed a similar position. Norway’s delegate urged Belarus to abolish the death penalty regardless of public opinion, and the UK urged to at least introduce a moratorium as a first step towards the abolition of the punishment.
pressed concern that Belarus “is not making enough effort to stop the practice of restricting human rights, especially freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech.“
On behalf of her country, she called on the Belarusian government to facilitate the registration of civil society structures, including non-governmental human rights organizations, “so that they can have an open constructive dialogue”
The representative of Belarus Irina Velichko said her country has a clear position on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and that “cooperation is of absolutely no interest”. She described the report of Anais Marin as fiction and the mandate as the product of short‑sighted political motivation that doesn’t serve the purpose of protecting human rights.
The electoral process of Belarus is the internal affair of a sovereign State, she stressed.