Belarus abuses continue unabated, says human rights expert

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Human Rights Council.UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Persecution of human rights defenders continues unabated in Belarus with no sign of improvement, a UN expert said Wednesday.

In a damning report, human rights investigator Miklos Haraszti said that civil rights defenders and journalists have been harassed all year.

This was despite "welcome efforts" from the government to ease tensions in the country and pressure from the international community, the UN investigator said.

Mr Haraszti also criticised a new internet law which he said established "direct governmental censorship" of all internet-based communications.

Several leading independent websites have been blocked by the authorities, the UN expert said.

He described the new law on mass media – adopted in parliament earlier this month without any consultation and in closed session – as a "radically new phase of oppression of free expression".

In his report the UN investigator highlighted that death sentences have continued to be handed down and executed, the latest case being in October.

Belarus is the subject of a second human rights council review next April.

Mr Haraszti described this as a "window of opportunity" for the country to "set its human rights record straight" and align its law and practice with international standards.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations

Duration: 1’18″

 

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