Belarus 'Continues To Violate Fundamental Human Rights,' Amnesty Tells UN Committee
RFE/RL September 11, 2018
Amnesty International says the Belarusian authorities have "continued to violate a number of fundamental human rights" over the past five years, including the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association, and expression, as well as the right to liberty and security of the person.
In a document submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva and posted on Amnesty's website on September 11, the London-based human rights watchdog said Belarus also continued to impose death sentences and execute prisoners in secret over the period from 2013-2018.
Despite "positive steps" suggesting some progress toward abolition of the death penalty, Belarus persistently ignored requests from the Human Rights Committee to stay executions while cases were being considered, the document said.
Amnesty International also said that individuals had been "arbitrarily" deprived of their liberty by law enforcement officials.
It said that hundreds of peaceful protesters and individuals had been subjected to "arrest, heavy fines, 'administrative detention,' and in some cases imprisonment following politically-motivated trials that did not conform to fair trial standards."
Amnesty International said most of the print and broadcast media in Belarus operate "under effective government control," and the country's authorities have taken steps to extend their control to online media outlets.
Meanwhile, the legal framework governing secret surveillance allows the authorities to undertake "wide-ranging surveillance with little or no justification," according to the watchdog.
The document said freedom of association had continued to be "unduly restricted."
While legislative changes to decriminalize participation in the activities of an unregistered organization were being considered, it said, this "crime" may be replaced with an administrative "offense."
Amnesty International submitted the document ahead of the UN Human Rights Committee's review of Belarus's report on measures taken to implement the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The review is to take place during the committee's 124th session on October 8-November 2.
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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