UN Human Rights Council 41st Session – Estonia’s statement on the situation of human rights in Belarus

Item 4: Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in BELARUS

41st Session of the Human Rights Council

 

Mr. President

Distinguished Special Rapporteur,

 Estonia fully aligns itself with the statement by the European Union.

We highly appreciate the work carried out by the Special Rapporteur (on the situation of human rights in Belarus), Ms Anaïs Marin.

We welcome the steps taken by Belarus to engage with the UN mechanisms on human rights. We sincerely hope that the openness demonstrated will also extend to a full cooperation with the mandate, including by allowing the Special Rapporteur to visit the country and to implementing the recommendations of her report.

We have taken note of some improvements, such as the repeal of article 193.1 of the Criminal Code and the implementation of the inter-agency plan on human rights. Nevertheless, we are concerned that, as stated by the Special Rapporteur, systemic and systematic violations remain present in law and practice.

In particular, we regret the continued practice of death penalty, as well as the restrictions on online media. We are concerned that, although in a smaller scale than previous year, the practices of arrests of human rights defenders and activists, the prevention of peaceful assemblies and interference with the work of journalists and civil society organizations continue to be reported.

Ms Rapporteur, Estonia fully supports your view that civil society would be an asset in bringing about positive change and encourage the Government of Belarus to approach civil society actors in the spirit of cooperation.

Further,

We would be interested in your views, on how best to implement your recommendation to cooperate with the United Nations in providing support to the Government of Belarus in areas pertaining to human rights.

Thank you!