Delegation of the European Union to Norway

HRC 41 - EU Introductory statement: Situation of Human Rights in Belarus

Geneva, 12/07/2019 - 15:05, UNIQUE ID: 190712_7
Statements on behalf of the EU

41st Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council Geneva, 24 June – 12 July 2019 EU Introductory statement: Situation of Human Rights in Belarus

Mr. President,

 

I have the honor to present, on behalf of the European Union, the resolution A/HRC/41/L.12 on the situation of human rights in Belarus.

 

This year the European Union engaged with Belarus in constructive spirit and in  good faith to explore the possibility of  working cooperatively  under item 10. We regret that the Government of Belarus ultimately decided against this approach, leaving us with no other option but to present, again, the mandate renewal under agenda item 4.

    

The resolution offers a balanced text, reflecting both positive steps taken by the Government of Belarus, but also points to persisting and serious shortcomings in the human rights record of the country concerned.

 

The resolution is based on the latest report by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus. The report describes the systemic and systematic human rights violations present in law and practice, as well as continued violations of fundamental freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression, including for journalists and media workers. The Special Rapporteur pointed also to new relevant topic of juvenile justice: an important issue that is touching the area of rights of the child.   

The EU firmly advocates for the abolition of the death penalty and strongly condemns its continuous application in Belarus. We welcome the engagement of the Government of Belarus in discussions on the possible abolition of the death penalty. We urge Belarus to join the global moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its abolition.

For these reasons, the EU presents a resolution at the current session to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and urges the Government of Belarus to start full cooperation with this mandate, allow the Special Rapporteur to visit the country in her official capacity and to implement the recommendations of her report.

 

Over the past years, the EU has taken several progressive steps to engage with Belarus in a meaningful dialogue on its human rights situation. We would especially like to express our support and gratitude for the important work and critical role of the UN organizations on the ground. While acknowledging the recent EU-Belarus human rights dialogue, we deeply regret the continued lack of cooperation by the Government of Belarus with the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, who provides an important source of information and independent expertise on the human rights situation in Belarus.

 

In its work on the resolution, the EU has conducted a series of productive consultations with various interested stakeholders. We warmly thank all delegations for their cooperation and valuable comments provided throughout the negotiation process. 

 

We therefore hope that all delegations can support the adoption of this important resolution.

 

Thank you, Mr President.

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