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

 

Belarus: And then there were none


Belarus: And then there were none

Amnesty International today condemned the closure by the Belarusian authorities of one of Belarus' most prominent human rights organization, Spring-96, as a further attempt to suppress what remains of the country's human rights community.

"Throughout 2003 human rights defenders in Belarus have faced a heightened campaign of harassment and intimidation by the authorities aimed at silencing them. Spring-96 was yet another human rights organization to fall victim to this deplorable campaign yesterday," Amnesty International stated.

The ruling of the Belarusian Supreme Court was met by a peaceful sit-down protest by eight members of Spring-96 who were arrested by police but later released. It is expected that they will be tried later today for staging an unsanctioned protest action and may face up to 15 days' imprisonment. If imprisoned, Amnesty International will consider them to be prisoners of conscience.

In recent months a disturbing number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), directly and indirectly engaged in the promotion and defence of human rights in Belarus, have been closed by a judiciary whose independence has been repeatedly called into question by the international community.

"Spring-96 was closed by the Belarusian Supreme Court on the slightest of pretexts and for the most spurious of reasons. The ulterior motive behind the rationale behind yesterday's ruling should be apparent to all," Amnesty International stated.

As in the case of several other human rights NGOs, the court ruled that Spring-96 had violated several provisions of a highly controversial law which tightly regulates the activities of civil society. In one instance, the court reportedly ruled that in rendering legal assistance to individuals who were not members of the human rights organization, Spring-96 had violated the law.

In early September another leading human rights organization, Legal Assistance to the Population, whose staff members have been active in determining the fate of Belarus "disappeared" opposition figures, was shut down on grounds equally as spurious.

In the month of August alone two NGO resource centres, Civic Initiatives and Ratusha, were liquidated by the Belarusian authorities, while the influential Belarusian Helsinki Committee received an official warning from the Ministry of Justice for omitting the quotation marks from the organization's name on its official letterheads and organizational symbol.

"It would be impossible to conceive of more trivial reasons to justify the suppression of Belarus' human rights community than those used by the Belarusian authorities. In light of these repeated attacks any claims that Belarus is committed to human rights and the rule of law is farcical," Amnesty International stated.

The impending closure of these human rights organizations has drawn repeated criticism from a range of international bodies including the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Amnesty International is urging the Belarusian authorities to allow human rights defenders in the country to exercise their rights of association and peaceful assembly without fear of obstruction, harassment, intimidation or fear of reprisals.

View all documents on Belarus at http://amnesty-news.c.tep1.com/maabBBraa1Govbb0hPub/

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Euro-Med Monitor: Updated Report On The Israeli Massacres During The Military Attack On The Gaza Strip

Geneva – The Israeli forces has killed and maimed many Palestinians in deliberate targeting of unprotected homes with families inside in inhumane military operations, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said. Since the beginning of the current ... More>>

IPPPR: The Independent Panel Calls For Urgent Reform Of Pandemic Prevention And Response Systems

Expert independent panel calls for urgent reform of pandemic prevention and response systems The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response is today calling on the global community to end the COVID-19 pandemic and adopt a series of bold and ... More>>

NGO Coalition On Human Rights: Call For A Stop To Police Brutality In Fiji

A viral video has circulated online showing two police officers utilising disproportionate and excessive force in detaining the suspect, an individual half their size. In the video it shows the man’s head being pressed down on the ground, his arms being ... More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs

ILO Voices: A Future With Hope, Free From Bonded Labour

By Padma Kumari Tamata Formerly in bonded labour, Padma Kumari Tamata is now a farmer, and grows and sells her own vegetables in the Kanchanpur district of Nepal. My name is Padma and I come from Vashi, a small hamlet in Nepal’s far-west Kanchanpur district. ... More>>

UN: Economic Recovery Under Threat Amid Surging COVID Cases And Lagging Vaccination In Poorer Countries

New York, 11 May — While the global growth outlook has improved, led by robust rebound in China and the United States, surging COVID-19 infections and inadequate vaccination progress in many countries threaten a broad-based recovery of the world ... More>>

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>