Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva
Switzerland, Liechtenstein

statement699

Universal Periodic Review Working Group – 22nd Session

Universal Periodic Review of Belarus

Australian Statement

Australia welcomes the Belarusian delegation and appreciates its engagement in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Australia remains deeply concerned by continuing violations of human rights in Belarus.

In 2010, Belarus accepted the recommendation to guarantee freedom of association and expression: this freedom continues to be unjustly restricted. There are credible reports that security services harass and detain human rights defenders, opposition politicians and journalists. An over-regulated registration system impedes NGOs and the media. Australia recommends Belarus implement its commitment to guarantee freedom of association and expression.

Australia is concerned that, despite a 2014 workshop, Belarus is yet to establish a National Human Rights Institute. Australia recommends Belarus establish an effective and independent National Human Rights Institute in 2015.

Australia has made numerous representations to Belarus on the release of political prisoners and on the death penalty. It is deeply disappointing to have seen little movement over a number of years on these fundamental issues. Further, political activists have been subject to “preventative detention” and other controls. Australia recommends Belarus end the detention of political activists, and release all political prisoners without delay. Australia recommends Belarus establish a formal moratorium on the death penalty with a view to ratifying the ICCPR Second Optional Protocol.