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Belarus must stop executing its citizens: UN

The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Miklos Haraszti, urged the Belarusian government on Wednesday to immediately cease executions of its citizens until legislation related to capital punishment and the court system can be reformed. According to Haraszti [press release], executions are administered via a gunshot to the back of the head, while information is withheld from the relevant parties regarding the date of execution and burial site. The lack of transparency, Haraszti states, amounts to "inhuman treatment." These recommendations have also been endorsed by four other independent experts affiliated with the UN.

While efforts continue to ameliorate issues relating to executions and other human rights violations in Belarus [UN backgrounder], the UN and its independent investigators have been active in speaking out against executions around the world. In August UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged [JURIST report] Hamas to halt all executions in the Gaza strip, claiming that a fair trial would be impossible to obtain given the high level of civil unrest in the region. In the same month the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns decried the human rights situation [JURIST report] in the Central African Republic, stating that abuses of power have led to a number of violations, including the alleged arbitrary executions of at least 46 individuals. Heyns was also critical of the Nigerian government this past June, condemning [JURIST report] officials for the alleged execution of four men in the State of Edo.

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