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Human Rights Council 38: Belarus

This UK statement was delivered at the 38th session of the Human Rights Council during the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Belarus, held on 25 June 2018.

The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

Mr Special Rapporteur, the UK thanks you for your report. We note the continuing human rights violations in Belarus, in particular restrictions on civil society and freedom of expression. We urge Belarus to cooperate with the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus, and other international mechanisms.

The adoption of the inter-agency plan on human rights has been a welcome development, however, it fails to outline how it will be implemented. We note with appreciation Belarus’ improved cooperation on domestic violence and human trafficking, and the dialogue in those areas with civil society.

In the run up to and during the 100th anniversary celebrations, Belarus made some positive steps relating to freedom of assembly by cooperating with opposition figures and activists and allowing a rally in central Minsk which passed off peacefully. But we note also some detentions in the run up to and following the rally.

The UK welcomes the registration of the NGO Tell the Truth and the LGBT project Makeout. We urge Belarus to work with other organisations towards their registration.

The UK is very concerned about the continued use of the death penalty in Belarus. It is our longstanding policy to oppose the death penalty, in all circumstances. We appreciate the increased cooperation in this area and urge Belarus to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty as a matter of priority, and as a first step towards abolition.

Mr. Special Rapporteur,

The UK was pleased that you were able to visit Belarus in July 2017, in a non official capacity. Could you describe any impressions formed as a result of that visit?

Published 25 June 2018