Thursday, November 22, 2007|
UN committee concerned about Belarus rights violations
Leslie Schulman at 3:05 PM ET
[JURIST] The UN General Assembly Third Committee Wednesday approved [press release] a draft resolution [PDF text] imploring the government of Belarus [JURIST news archive] to uphold its "obligation to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and to fulfil [its] international obligations." The draft expressed concern about ongoing human rights violations in Belarus, including the continued detention and harassment of political dissenters and independent journalists, flawed election measures that do not meet international standards, and the prevalent use of arbitrary application measures that impede the operations of non-government organizations in the country. The draft calls on the Belarus government:
(a) To release immediately and unconditionally all individuals detained for politically motivated reasons and other individuals detained for exercising or promoting human rights;The committee passed the resolution with a vote of 68-32, with 76 abstentions. Belarus' UN ambassador rejected the draft, calling it "unfounded" and without legal force. The resolution now moves to a vote in the General Assembly.
(b) To cease politically motivated prosecution, harassment and intimidation of political opponents, pro-democracy activists and human rights defenders, independent media, national minority activists, religious organizations, educational institutions and civil society actors, and to cease the harassment of students;
(c) To bring the electoral process and legislative framework into line with international standards . . . and to rectify the shortcomings of the electoral process;
(d) To respect the rights to freedom of speech, assembly and association;
(e) To suspend from their duties officials implicated in any case of enforced disappearance, summary execution and torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment . . . and, if [they are] found guilty, to ensure that they are punished in accordance with the international human rights obligations of Belarus;
(f) To uphold the right to freedom of religion or belief; [and]
(g) To investigate and hold accountable those responsible for the mistreatment, arbitrary arrest and incarceration of human rights defenders and members of the political opposition [...]
The General Assembly in March passed a resolution on Belarus human rights violations [PDF text], but it has been largely disregarded. Wednesday's draft encouraged Belarus to fully execute the March resolution. AP has more.
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