Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva
Switzerland, Liechtenstein

statement720

Human Rights Council - 29th Regular Session

Individual Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus.

23 June 2015

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

As our Belarusian colleagues are aware, Australia opposes the death penalty in all circumstances. Australia has made numerous representations to Belarus on the abolition of the death penalty; including at its most recent Universal Periodic Review appearance in May 2015.

We are very disappointed to have seen no movement on this issue over a number of years. Australia is particularly concerned to note the Special Rapporteur’s finding that a new death sentence was handed down by the Rechytsa district court as recently as March 2015.

Australia recommends Belarus establish a formal moratorium on the death penalty with a view to ratifying the ICCPR Second Optional Protocol.

Australia has also made representations to Belarus on the release of political prisoners. Australia is particularly concerned to note the Special Rapporteur’s finding that the practices of ‘preventative arrest’ and ‘arbitrary detention’ have become systematic.

Australia recommends Belarus end the detention of political activists, and release all political prisoners without delay; particularly before the upcoming presidential elections in November 2015.