GENEVA (31 January 2014) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Miklos Haraszti will visit Vilnius, Lithuania, from 2-5 February 2014 to hold consultations with representatives of Belarusian civil society on the human rights situation in the country.
“During my visit to Lithuania, I will meet members of the Belarusian civil society 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.
“In the absence of the cooperation from the Government of Belarus, I continue to meet with individuals outside Belarus 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 expert has repeatedly urged the Belarusian authorities to collaborate with his mandate with a view to addressing human rights challenges on the ground.
The Special Rapporteur noted that his 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 Human Rights Council in June 2014.
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.
Check the Special Rapporteur’s latest report on Belarus (August 2013): www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/68/276
OHCHR Country page: Belarus: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/BYIndex.aspx
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