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Human rights situation in Belarus: UN expert to hold consultations with Belarusian civil society

GENEVA (11 July 2013) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Belarus, Miklos Haraszti, will visit Vilnius, Lithuania, from 11-14 July 2013 to hold consultations with representatives of Belarusian civil society on the human rights situation in the country.

“I shall meet civil society representatives from Belarus concerned with the country’s human rights situation,” explained the independent expert charged by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the situation of human rights in Belarus.

“Since my appointment as Special Rapporteur, I have sought cooperation with the Government of Belarus and the organization of an official visit Belarus. In the absence of this and in order to fulfill my mandate, I continue to meet with individuals to be informed of the human rights situation in the country,” Mr. Haraszti said.

Since his appointment in November 2012, and the renewal of the mandate by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2013, the Special Rapporteur has repeatedly urged the Belarusian authorities to collaborate with his mandate with a view to addressing human rights challenges on the ground. In his view, the Special Rapporteur’s mandate offers an opportunity for the Belarusian Government to engage in a constructive dialogue on human rights.

During his four-day mission, Mr. Haraszti will meet with a variety of interlocutors to assess the human rights situation in Belarus. The result of these discussions will be reflected in his upcoming report to the UN General Assembly in October 2013.

The United Nations Human Rights Council established the mandate of Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus in March 2012 (resolution 20/13). It was extended for a further year by the Human Rights Council in June 2013. As a Special Rapporteur, Miklós Haraszti (Hungary) is independent of any government or organisation, and serves in his individual capacity. In the 1970s, Mr. Haraszti was a founder of Hungary’s human rights and free press movement, and in the 1990s he was a Member of the Hungarian Parliament. From 2004 to 2010, he served as the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. Since 2010, he has been a Professor at several universities teaching media democratisation.

OHCHR Country page: Belarus: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/BYIndex.aspx

Check the Special Rapporteur’s latest report on Belarus (April 2013): http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session23/A-HRC-23-52_en.pdf

For further information and media requests, please contact Fiona Frazer (+41 78 973 8657 / ffrazer@ohchr.org) or write to sr-belarus@ohchr.org.

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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