Belarusian human rights defenders condemn impulses to denounce the Protocol to the Covenant

Seven Belarusian human rights organizations (Belarusian Helsinki Committee, Legal Initiative, Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House, Lawtrend Human Rights Organisation, Human Constanta, Belarusian PEN, Human Rights Centre Viasna) spoke out against the attempts of Belarusian authorities to denounce the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

They demand that the authorities abandon their plans to denounce the Optional Protocol, ensure that citizens are able to use international human rights protection mechanisms by way of expanding such opportunities rather than excluding them, as well as comply with their international human rights obligations by bringing their legislation and law-enforcement practices in line with such. Human rights defenders call upon international organizations to condemn the encroachments of the Belarusian authorities publicly, persuade them to abandon their plans to denounce the Optional Protocol and focus their actions on expanding the opportunities for
Belarusian citizens to use international human rights mechanisms.

“...The decisions of the Committee establishing whether or not there has been a violation under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are of key importance both for victims of human rights violations who have addressed the Committee in the absence of effective domestic remedies for redress and for States whose aim is the best provision and protection of human rights. The very recognition by the State of an individual's right to complain its action demonstrates the State's recognizing the importance of the individual and his or her rights. It is deeply symbolic that one of the first actions of the new independent Belarus was to admit the right of Belarusians to challenge human rights violations to an international body and to accede to this universally recognised UN procedure. We recall that the Committee has so far considered about 150 complaints about violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by the Republic of Belarus, and although the Committee's decisions have been consistently ignored by the authorities, the State has been obliged to respond to the Committee by clarifying the relevant issue and providing information about the measures taken.”

The statement notes that following denunciation of the Optional Protocol, only one treaty body will remain to which individual communications can be communicated when human rights and freedoms are violated by Belarus –– the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women –– but its mandate and substantive jurisdiction is more restricted.

You can find the full text at the link.
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