Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
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Human Rights Council - 26th Regular Session

Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on Belarus

Australian Statement
18 June 2014


Australia thanks the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus for his report.

Australia congratulates Belarus for the constructive role it has played in bringing about the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

However, we remain deeply concerned by the human rights situation in Belarus and that the Government of Belarus is making little effort to promote or protect human rights.

Australia welcomed the re-establishment of a parliamentary working group to consider the issue of the death penalty in Belarus, but remains concerned that the death penalty is still retained for certain crimes. Australia supports the universal abolition of the death penalty, which violates the right to life. We urge Belarus to cease executions and to immediately establish a moratorium on the death penalty.

Australia notes the importance of the independence of judges and lawyers. We are concerned that lawyers in Belarus who represented candidates in the presidential elections of December 2010 were subsequently detained for advocating for the respect of human rights and have been disbarred. We urge Belarus to put an immediate end to such forms of pressure on representatives of the judicial system.

We have raised our concerns directly with Belarussian authorities. Unfortunately we have yet to see real progress in these areas. We urge Belarus to consider the seriousness of these issues and take positive and timely action to address the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur’s report.