The corresponding letter was sent to the Permanent Representatives of the Member States and Observer States of the UN Human Rights Council on June 17, 2021. Among the signatories are Amnesty International, the World Organization against Torture, the International Federation for Human Rights, the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, the Belarusian House of Human Rights named after Boris Zvozskov.
The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Belarus was established by the Human Rights Council after the crackdown that began due to the falsification of the results of the 2010 presidential election. The Special Rapporteur assumed his duties on November 1, 2012. Since then, it has been renewed every year. The decision on the previous extension of the mandate was made on July 17, 2020, for one year.
The order called on the Belarusian authorities to hold free and transparent presidential elections and to act by the state’s international obligations. According to the mandate, the Special Rapporteur on Belarus, Anais Marin, has to visit Belarus and meet with interested parties, including civil society. On July 10, 2020, Anais Marin said that the mandate should be extended for another year so that the international community could monitor the situation in Belarus.
This year, the human rights organizations of Belarus and the world again appealed to the UN Human Rights Council with a request to extend the order. In the letter, they stressed that the crisis in Belarus is not resolved, the human rights situation continues to deteriorate, and the mandate is more important than ever. The signatories of the appeal cited some of the most high-profile examples of human rights violations in recent months:
– the seizure of a Ryanair passenger plane on May 23;
– the dispersal of the editorial office of the independent portal TUT.BY;
– new amendments to three legislative acts that will continue to infringe on freedom of speech, peaceful actions and media activities in Belarus;
– the death of Witold Ashurak on May 21.
The extended mandate will include:
– monitoring the human rights situation in Belarus;
– making recommendations to improve the situation;
– supporting the implementation of the recommendations of the UN High Commissioner to the UN Human Rights Council;
– offering assistance to Belarus in fulfilling its human rights obligations;
– supporting and advising civil society.
“Human rights defenders face ongoing reprisals and reprisals for cooperating with the United Nations. The Special Procedures – and the Special Rapporteur in particular-must remain an accessible, secure channel for Belarusian civil society to provide diverse and relevant information from within the country,” the human rights defenders said.
By signing this letter, ICСI “Our House” hopes that the mandate will be extended. It is an important step to hear the voices of Belarusians in the world. It will help not to forget about the terrible situation in the country. We believe that with the support of the UN, Lukashenko will leave his illegally occupied post, and the crisis will be overcome as soon as possible.