EU push to slam Belarus at UN rights council

The European Union submitted a draft resolution to the U.N. Human Rights Council that would censure Belarus for human rights violations and restore the special investigator position that was unceremoniously slashed in 2007.

The vote will come on Thursday or Friday, with strong resistance expected by Russia, China and other non-democracies.

Last week’s council debate over the High Commissioner’s critical report on Belarus underscored how much support  this European dictatorship still enjoys at the U.N.’s top rights body:

Bahrain supported the position of Belarus with regard to the need to ensure that truthful information was provided to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  The Office should also give more regard to the information provided by the Government and Belarus should increase its cooperation with the human rights mechanisms.

Azerbaijan noted recent measures by Belarus on the promotion and protection of human rights.  Belarus had cooperated with the existing human rights mechanisms of the United Nations, including the submission of the mid-term progress report on the implementation of Universal Periodic Review recommendations.  Belarus had updated and informed the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, mandate holders, and Member States on recent developments.  Azerbaijan believed that all outstanding issues could be considered within the spirit of cooperation and collaboration between Belarus and the Council’s human rights mechanisms.

Viet Nam stressed that rights and freedoms were not absolute and their exercise required responsibilities in respect to public order.  Any wrongful use of those rights such as insight to hatred, vandalism to public property and violence should be condemned.  The Council must maintain its objective approach in the spirit of dialogue, non-confrontation and mutual respect.  Viet Nam called upon Belarus to protect and promote human rights in accordance with international standards under human rights law.

Cuba said today’s dialogue was an example of the politicized approach of the Council which would ultimately lead to its collapse.  The High Commissioner ignored an invitation to visit Belarus, the report presented was not objective, its sources were not credible, and the majority of its information had not been verified.  The real intent of the exercise was to re-establish the spurious mandate on Belarus dissolved in 2007 in a historic decision by the Council.  Cuba reaffirmed its support for the people and Government of Belarus.

Venezuela said that despite the efforts to demonize the country and diminish its commitment to democracy, Belarus continued to guarantee every step of the right to a fair trial to those who had violated the laws.  Venezuela condemned yet another attempt to turn this Council into a weapon of Western powers against progressive nations and said that the establishment of Special Rapporteur would be an act of hostility.

Turkmenistan expressed its appreciation for the active cooperation of Belarus with different human rights monitoring mechanisms, including the Human Rights Council.  Turkmenistan welcomed the decision of Belarus to work closely with international institutions and the High Commissioner for Human Rights and to provide them with information on the events following the presidential elections in 2010.

Uzbekistan regretted that the report of the High Commissioner was based on indirect research and secondary sources, in detriment of information provided by the Government.  Uzbekistan found it unacceptable that the report requested, without examination by the national judiciary, the liberation of prisoners.

Iran commended Belarus for its commitment to its international obligations concerning the promotion and protection of human rights.  Unilateral political and economic sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States against Belarusian citizens were vivid examples of the violation and abuse of international law and relevant United Nations resolutions.  The international community should also recognise steps already taken to implement international human rights commitments through an open and meaningful dialogue.

Sri Lanka noted that resolution 17/24 on the human rights situation in Belarus was adopted without that country’s consent and reiterated that action contemplated with regard to Belarus must meet with its consent.  Sri Lanka also noted the invitation extended to the High Commissioner to visit Belarus in August 2011.  The Universal Periodic Review mechanism was the appropriate forum to address the human rights situation of all countries in a constructive and equal spirit of engagement.  Sri Lanka encouraged the international community to constructively engage in a positive dialogue with Belarus.

China said it always stood for a constructive dialogue and cooperation on human rights issues and believed the promotion and protection of human rights should suit a country’s situation, culture, history and tradition.  China opposed the use of human rights to interfere with other countries domestic affairs and supported positive efforts made by Belarus to promote human rights.  China hoped Belarus would continue to maintain its political stability and the continuous rise in people’s living standards.

Zimbabwe said as a matter of principle it did not endorse the imposition of country-specific mandates in dealing with human rights situations except those cases where the country concerned gave its full consent.  Zimbabwe considered the proposed appointment of a Special Rapporteur on Belarus totally uncalled for.  Belarus was already cooperating with mechanisms of the Human Rights Council including the Universal Period Review process.

1 Response to “EU push to slam Belarus at UN rights council”

  • lets put aside the fact that Belarus is backed by non democracies and Sri-Lanka… the EU can’t get everything right so who is to say that going after Belarus at the “unhrc” is the right way to promote human rights in that country?
    The real question is why all those perpetrators of human rights are automatically backing any country who opposes the EU and US?

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