19 January 2018, Friday, 22:26

UN Committee finds violation of human rights of Homel activist

The Belarusian authorities violated the right of Vasil Paliakou, a deputy head of the United Civil Party, to peaceful assembly.

In September 2008, the Homel city executive committee forbade to hold a mass event aimed at calling on people not to vote in the “parliamentary elections” on September 28, 2008, Homel, Gomel Spring website reports.

The decision that was taken on July 17, 2014, was sent to the politician by mail.

Vasil Paliakou sent a complaint to the UN Committee after he had exhausted all domestic remedies. In 2008, the Homel authorities did not allow him to hold a peaceful picket in Homel to call on people to boycott the so called “parliamentary election”. Local officials wanted the activist to pay the police, street cleaners and the emergency medical service.

The Human Rights Committee wrote in its decision that if the government imposes a restriction on the freedom of peaceful assembly, it should promote the implementation of the law instead of looking for unnecessary or inappropriate constraints. And since the government of Belarus decided that only the prohibition of the peaceful assembly could ensure public order and safety, the protection of morals or health or the protection of the rights and freedoms of other persons, it thus violated the applicant’s right to freedom of peaceful assembly under Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

According to the decision of the UN Committee, the Belarusian authorities should ensure that victim of violation be provided with “an effective remedy, including a full cost recovery and adequate compensation” and work “to prevent similar violations in the future”. In addition, the Belarusian authorities are required to “change the national law on mass events and the practice of its application so as to ensure that everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly”.

The Belarusian government should publish the decision, including in the Belarusian language, in the state-run media and execute it within 180 days.