EU and US wants UN rights probe in Belarus
10:20, — Politics
The European Union and United States will lead calls for the appointment of a UN human rights investigator to Belarus.
The UN Human Rights Council will discuss on Wednesday a report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) which says the situation there has "significantly deteriorated" since the 2010 presidential election when a crackdown on protesters and opposition saw hundreds detained.
The EU, supported by the United States, will on Thursday lodge a resolution requesting the assignment of a special rapporteur.
The council's 47 members are then expected to vote on the issue at the end of its current sitting, on either July 5 or 6.
The UN rights body previously appointed a special rapporteur in 2004 but the mandate was discontinued in 2007 at the request of the government.
In June last year the council adopted a resolution condemning rights violations before and after the presidential election.
US ambassador to the council Eileen Donahoe said there was a need to step up action against the government of Alexander Lukashenko amid its continued lack of cooperation with the OHCHR and "the further degradation" of the rights situation.
"The United States believes the next step should be the creation of a Special Rapporteur to continue to investigate and put a spotlight on the situation in Belarus," the ambassador told reporters in Geneva last week.
In its latest report covering December 2010 to March this year, the OHCHR highlighted allegations of the torture of detainees and pressure on defence lawyers.