The human rights situation in Belarus has seen a dramatic deterioration, according to a report [materials] published Monday from Miklos Haraszti, the UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus. The report notes numerous instances of rights abuses, beginning with the suppression of peaceful protests in March over a law [text, PDF, in Russian] imposing a tax on people who are not employed full time in which more than 900 people were detained. Among those detained in the March protests were political opponents, civil activists, human rights defenders, journalists and foreign observers. This wave of mass arrests was the most severe repression of human rights since the election in 2010. Before the extreme crackdown on peaceful protests, there were reports of political opponents, social activists, and human rights defenders being harassed. The report also highlights that the absence of a free and fair election makes it impossible for real opposition presence in the Belarus Parliament. Additionally, Belarus has resumed its use of capital punishment, executing three people in the past year whose cases were still pending before the Human Rights Committee. Finally, the report acknowledges that has still failed to establish a human rights institution. All of these events have culminated in the deterioration of human rights in Belarus. The report will be presented at the next session of the UN Human Rights Council.
The report by Haraszti highlights the ongoing human rights struggle in Belarus. Perhaps the biggest instance of the deterioration of human rights in Belarus was the suppression [JURIST report] of peaceful protests in March. A UN Special Rapporteur in December strongly condemned [JURIST report] the executions of three men in Belarus, citing the executions as a confirmation of the “the persistent disregard for human rights in the country.” Last May UN human rights experts expressed grave concern [JURIST report] over Belarus’ death penalty practices after reports surfaced that a man was executed while his case was before the UN Human Rights Committee. In August of 2015 EU Officials [JURIST report] Belarus’ president for his release of political prisoners. In June 2015 Haraszti warned [JURIST report] that Belarus continues to sentence and imprison political opponents of the government. In April 2014 Haraszti called for the country to end its use of the death penalty, reiterating earlier statements [JURIST report] and citing politically motivated courts and the lack of fair trials.