16 November 2018, Friday, 15:45
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Leanid Sudalenka: Tomorrow Belarus Will Adopt Decree That Only Blondes Can Hold Rallies

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LEANID SUDALENKA
PHOTO: RADIO SVABODA

The UNCHR will draw up a roadmap for the Belarusian government.

On November 1, the UN Committee on Human Rights will present a series of recommendations (roadmap) for the Belarusian government on the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The recommendations will be aimed at the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in Belarus, human rights activist Leanid Sudalenka says, Homel Viasna reports.

He took part in the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Committee, which took place in Geneva the other day. For the first time in twenty years, a delegation of official Belarusian authorities took part in the event. Human rights activists had prepared an alternative report on the situation of human rights in Belarus. The session discussed issues of the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, discrimination of various communities, a moratorium on the death penalty.

According to Sudalenka, the main message of the official delegation was that the Belarusian authorities would continue to be guided by national legislation.

“This is sad. National legislation is written by people who are prone to make mistakes. Tomorrow Belarus will adopt a decree that only blondes have the right to hold rallies. And then what – to run to the hairdresser? All countries are guided by international law – if they have taken such an obligation, and our authorities declare and emphasize that we will, figuratively speaking, allow only blondes to hold rallies,” – the human rights activist commented.

Since the 1990s, the UN Committee on Human Rights has received 284 complaints of Belarusians, 107 have been considered, and certain violations were identified. But the Belarusian authorities do not execute the decisions of the UN Human Rights Committee, referring to the fact that they are advisory in nature. This question was also raised at the session.

“Representatives of the Belarusian authorities retorted that the International Covenant does not have a direct action norm that would oblige Belarus to execute decisions. But that was contested by the UN Human Rights Committee representative, who referred to the Belarusian Constitution. Article 61 of the Basic Law says that everyone has the right, in accordance with ratified international acts, to apply for protection to international organizations. This is the direct norm!” – Sudalenka noted.

He promised that Belarusian human rights activists will continue to monitor the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by the Belarusian authorities.

“It is clear that today human rights are not a priority for the Belarusian society. And the state ideology implants the philosophy of “rouse and bacon crisps.” But in countries, where human rights are respected, the economy is developing. And people are smiling at each other, and are not as gloomy, as in our streets,” – the human rights activist said.

He reminded that Belarus is the only country in Europe whose citizens do not have the right to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Therefore, the UN Committee is the only way for Belarusians to complain internationally.

At the session of the committee, the issue of the moratorium on the death penalty was raised.

“Again the Belarusian authorities claim that our society is not ready, referring to the 1996 referendum. Representatives of the official delegation stated that there was a broad discussion on this topic in society. But this is not true – we do not have a broad dialogue on the issue of the death penalty. In schools or universities, they don’t talk about it,” – the human rights activist added.

He noted that the voice of Belarusian human rights activists was heard at the session.

“The Belarusian government does not hear us. It is sad. Officials cause damage to the image of our state, but not we, human rights activists. We just remind, like watchdogs, where the disorder is,” – Sudalenko summed up.