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Common position of Belarusian human rights defenders ahead of the next round of the EU-Belarus human rights dialogue

25.05.2016 Source: spring96.org

Belarusian human rights organizations welcome the continuation of the EU-Belarus human rights dialogue. On the eve of its next round, we call on the parties to keep the issues of human rights high on the agenda in building relationships between the European Union and Belarus and announce our common position on human rights in Belarus.

We stress the absence of any significant progress and systemic changes in the field of human rights and freedoms in Belarus.

The country still:

  • retains the death penalty;
  • ignores key recommendations of international bodies to strengthen the judicial system;
  • considerably restricts civil, political and socio-economic rights, including freedom of association, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly;
  • demonstrates evidence of persecution of human rights defenders and journalists for their professional activities.

Serious improvement is only possible through systemic changes in the field of human rights and freedoms, and through building a value-based dialogue between Belarus and its international partners, as well as – most significantly – within the country.

The Belarusian human rights community should be a party to the EU-Belarus human rights dialogue and be involved in this process.

Belarusian human rights organizations should also be involved in other dialogues within the country. In this regard, we urge the government to establish a dialogue on human rights between government bodies and human rights organizations and to develop in coordination with them a National Human Rights Plan. The Plan can be based on recommendations received by Belarus as part of the Universal Periodic Review. Human rights organizations have jointly developed a set of indicators on the implementation of these recommendations, which will allow to assess the changes in the human rights situation in Belarus.

We also call on the government to strictly comply with the international commitments voluntarily assumed by the country under UN, OSCE and other international treaties and mechanisms, and to take measures to implement the conclusions by the bodies established within the treaties, in particular the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

Office of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Center for Legal Transformation

Belarusian Documentation Center

Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House

Belarusian Association of Journalists

Human Rights Center "Viasna"

Legal Initiative

Belarusian Helsinki Committee

FORB Initiative

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