World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Belarus: Demonstrators must be allowed freedom


Belarus: Demonstrators must be allowed freedom of expression

The Belarusian authorities must ensure the right to peaceful protest for political opponents and human rights activists, Amnesty international said today in the context of anti-government demonstrations planned for tomorrow, the 10th anniversary of Alyaksandr Lukashenko's presidency.

"There should be no repeat of the ugly scenes of police brutality and arbitrary arrests witnessed during past demonstrations," Amnesty International urged.

"International human rights standards must be fully observed during policing operations," the organization stressed.

In the past large scale protest actions have met with a repressive response from the Belarusian authorities and have resulted in waves of arrests. Amnesty International has repeatedly expressed its concern about the Belarusian authorities' disregard for human rights, including the harassment and intimidation of non-governmental organizations and trade unions, the stifling the freedom of expression and association, and "disappearances" of opposition politicians and a cameraman.

"The Belarusian authorities continually demonstrate their lack of tolerance for dissent."

"Anyone detained for their peaceful protests will be considered to be a prisoner of conscience", Amnesty International said as the organization prepares to monitor closely the demonstration on 21 July.

The Belarusian authorities are obliged under Articles 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to guarantee citizens the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. This is particularly important in the run-up to the parliamentary elections on 17 October when those engaged in civil society, and in particular members of the opposition, should be allowed to express their views openly .

Background

In March 2004, Amnesty International called on the authorities to end the practice of detaining people solely for the peaceful exercise of their fundamental rights to freedom of expression and association.

In April 2002, 85 peaceful demonstrators were detained and more than 30 were sentenced to periods of imprisonment between three and 15 days. Opposition activists are continually harassed and according to Zubr, a non-registered youth organization for democracy and human rights, in the period between January 2001 and December 2003 more than a thousand incidents occurred during peaceful public actions. Amnesty International has already taken up two cases of activist arrested for the peaceful expression of their views so far this year.

In April 2004, the UN Commission on Human Rights criticized Belarus for continued reports of arbitrary arrest and detention and for harassment of non-governmental organizations and opposition political parties and those engaged in democratic activities. It has called on Belarus to bring the actions of its police and security forces into conformity with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

In May 2004, the Council of Europe rejected an application from Belarus to renew its special status with the organization which had been suspended when President Lukashenko dissolved the parliament in 1997.

Stifling the promotion of human rights - Take action! Visit http://amnesty-news.c.topica.com/maacs3saa8znpbb0hPub/

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news