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

 


UN expert urges Government to release Ales Bialiatski


Belarus: UN expert urges Government to release Ales Bialiatski and stop persecution of rights defenders

GENEVA (2 August 2013) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Republic of Belarus, Miklós Haraszti, urged the Belarusian Government to “immediately and unconditionally” release and rehabilitate human rights defender Ales Bialiatski. “Mr Bialiatski’s detention is a symbol of the repression against human rights defenders,” he said.

Two years ago, on 4 August 2011, Mr Bialiatski, head of the Human Rights Center Viasna, was detained in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, on charges of tax evasion. He was later sentenced to four and a half years imprisonment with the confiscation of all his property, including assets registered to other persons. This judgment was upheld on appeal in 2012.

“Mr. Bialiatski is an internationally respected human rights defender; his engagement for human rights is well-known and broadly applauded,” the UN independent expert noted. In addition to his work with Viasna, he has been active is setting up the Belarusian Human Rights House in Vilnius, Lithuania, and became the Vice-President of the International Federation of Human Rights. Viasna continues to defend the rights of ordinary citizens just as those of imprisoned public critics of the Government.

“As many other human rights defenders in Belarus, Mr. Bialiatski could not legally and without hindrance work, because of the refusal by Belarusian authorities to register his NGO,” the Special Rapporteur said, urging the Government to acknowledge human rights organisations in the country, and start cooperating with them to establish an independent national human rights institution as pledged in the nation’s commitments to the UN.

The independent expert recalled the UN Human Rights Committee’s view that the dissolution of Viasna was in violation of the freedom of association, as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Also, he noted that the UN Human Rights Council unanimously stated that no law should criminalize or delegitimize activities in defence of human rights on account of the origin of funding thereto.

“The detention of Mr Bialiatski is clearly a consequence of him continuing his not only legitimate but also legal work under international human rights law,” Mr. Haraszti underlined. “The fundraising undertaken by Mr. Bialiatski for the purposes of allowing the very existence of Viasna, and continuation of its activities was in conformity with international human rights law,” he stressed. The expert echoed the position of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that determined the detention of Mr. Bialiatiski as arbitrary.

“Two years after the arrest of Mr. Bialiatski, on a day that will be marked by many throughout the world, I join others in offering my heartfelt support to Belarusian civil society and its remarkable work and I call upon the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release and rehabilitate Mr. Bialiatski and those incarcerated in violation of their human rights,” said Mr. Haraszti, as he already recommended in his first report* to the UN Human Rights Council, in June 2013, following the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' similar call in her 2011 report on Belarus.

In his report, the Special Rapporteur expressed deep concern over the fact that, in June 2012, the prison authorities labelled Mr. Bialiatski a repeat violator of the regulations of his detention. On October that year, a coalition of independent human rights NGOs warned about the “significant deterioration” of his detention conditions.

“I call upon the government of Belarus to provide Mr. Bialiatski, pending his release, access to all medical support he needs and secure that the prison conditions do not impact his health and to ensure that Ales Bialiatski has full rights to receive visits and private correspondence,” the UN independent expert urged.

Earlier this year, the UN Human Rights Council unanimously called upon all States to ensure that the promotion and the protection of human rights are not criminalized, and that human rights defenders are not prevented from enjoying universal human rights owing to their work, whether they operate individually or in association with others, while emphasizing that everyone shall respect the human rights of others.

“I urge the Belarusian authorities to protect human rights defenders and journalists from harassment, intimidation and violence as a result of their activities, and conduct prompt, impartial and thorough investigations, prosecution and punishment of any such acts,” said Mr. Haraszti, reiterating the recommendation made in his report, in line with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

(*) Check the full report: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session23/A-HRC-23-52_en.pdf

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Russian Hack Job?: White House - Actions In Response To Russian Malicious Cyber Activity & Harassment

President Obama authorized a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election in 2016. More>>


Israel/Palestine: Michael Field - Background To How Israel Nearly Went To War With New Zealand

New Zealand and Senegal managed to get the United Nations Security Council to pass resolution 2334 which said Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory violate international law and undermine a two-state solution in Israel's conflict with Palestine. More>>

ALSO:


US Indigenous Affairs: How President Obama Has Protected Our Sacred Land

I am very proud to be both Navajo and American. As the President of the Navajo Nation, I’ve dedicated my life to ensuring that, as a Navajo, my story -- and our stories -- are part of our collective American history. Today, I want to share one of those stories with you. More>>

Binoy Kampmark: The Berlin Truck Attack And The Refugee Question

The hard-nosed neo-cons were certainly showing little interest in linking arguments, examining evidence, or even considering elementary logic in the aftermath of the Berlin truck attack near the Gedächtniskirche. With the bodies fresh in the morgue, former US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, peered into the mind of the everyday German, and found teeth chattering fear. More>>


Demonetisation: Gordon Campbell On India’s Huge Socio-Economic Experiment

Without much coverage at all in the West, India has just been engaged for the past few weeks in one of the world’s biggest socio-economic experiments since the Cultural Revolution in China. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Death Of Fidel Castro

New Zealand likes to think we played our part – via the 1981 Springbok tour – in bringing the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end… Jacob Zuma treated the death of Fidel Castro at the weekend as an occasion to pay a heartfelt tribute to the thousands of Cuban soldiers who travelled across the world to inflict the first significant military defeat on the forces of white supremacy. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Election Home Stretch

Once again at the business end of a US election, the result will hinge on the same old bits of geography as always: the Five Crucial Counties in Ohio, the Two Crucial Counties in Pennsylvania and the I-4 Interstate Corridor in Florida that runs from Tampa Bay through Orlando to Daytona Beach. More>>

ALSO:

Meanwhile:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news