Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF
Monday, 4 May 2015 (Morning)
(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)
State under review
Represented by 12-member delegation headed by Valentin Rybakov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit
the Belarus page on UPR website.
Algeria, Pakistan and Paraguay.
Opening statement by State under review
Few points raised in the opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on Belarus page on UPR Extranet **)
- Since the last review, Belarus had implemented several of the recommendations made and had improved its legal procedures and adopted new inter-agency and inter-ministerial programmes and plans;
- Since the last UPR, Belarus had acceded to six international agreements and was about to sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
- During the last elections, polling stations had been equipped with material for blind and visually impaired people to enable them to vote;
- Belarus had met five of the Millennium Development Goals: namely those on hunger, gender equality, education and on clean and safe-drinking water;
- Belarus was also in the lead in bringing down maternal death, it had the best indicator in the CIS in child and infant mortality. Belarus was the safest place for a women to give birth and raise a child;
- The UN Committee on Equality and non-discrimination had indicated that Belarus was one of the only country where freedom of religion was being met in practice;
- A national council on gender equality had recently been set up;
- The number of women in the State apparatus was increasing. Women also accounted for half of all academics;
- Death penalty was currently only being carried out for the most serious crimes, and in-line with international standards. A study group on a possible moratorium had also been set up;
- Belarus planned on better protecting children’s rights. They were looking into the problems of crimes committed by children and street children. Several cities had joined the UNICEF child-friendly cities initiative;
- They had adopted a law on fighting trafficking in persons and provided victims with free legal support, temporary refuge and help to return to their families;
- Next year’s presidential elections will take place with the participation of national, regional and international observers.
In total 95 States participated in the dialogue: 37 HRC members and 58 observers (Statements available on Belarus page on UPR Extranet).
Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:
- Accession to a number of international human rights agreements and the signing of the Convention on the right of persons with disabilities;
- Progress achieved through social welfare policies, implementing free and compulsory primary education
- The increase in the human development index and access to medical services;
- Measures taken to put an end to human trafficking including the Trafficking in Persons Act;
- The 4th National Plan of Action on Gender Equality and steps to enhance gender equality;
- The release of former political prisoner Ales Bialatski.
Issues and Questions
Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:
- The use of the death penalty and steps to abolish it and/or impose a moratorium;
- Guaranteeing freedom of assembly, association and expression;
- The functioning of human rights defenders and civil society;
- Measures to release political prisoners and allegations of ill treatment of detainees;
- Steps to set up a national human rights institution.
- Upcoming presidential elections in December 2015.
States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Belarus. These pertained to the following issues, among others:
- to abolish capital punishment and introduce a moratorium on the death penalty;
- to take measures to put an end to torture and investigate all allegations of torture and ill-treatment in detention facilities and bring perpetrators to justice;
- to guarantee freedom of assembly and association; to amend the Law on Mass Events to enable the right to peaceful assembly and expression;
- to put end to restrictions and all forms of harassment and reprisals against civil society actors, human rights defenders and journalists; to decriminalise the activities of non-registered NGOs;
- to release remaining political prisoners and to eliminate arbitrary detention;
- to promote freedom of the media and to conduct impartial investigations into any attacks, intimidation and harassment against journalists; to amend laws to guarantee freedom of expression on the Internet;
- to amend the electoral laws to bring them in line with OSCE commitments ahead of presidential elections in December this year; to strengthen then independence of the judiciary;
- to invite the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Belarus to visit the country and extend an invitation to pending requests by Special Procedures;
- to establish a national human rights institution in line with the Paris Principles;
- to investigate acts of hate speech and hate crimes, including against LGBT persons;
- to continue efforts to combat domestic violence; to strengthen efforts to ensure well-being of children;
- Ratification of human rights instruments: the 2nd OP to the ICCPR, the Convention on enforced and involuntary disappearances, the OP on the ICESCR, the Convention on the rights of migrant workers and members of their families, the Rome Statute of the ICC; the Convection on the rights of persons with disabilities, and the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.
Adoption of report of Working Group
The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Belarus is scheduled to take place onFriday, 8 May 2015.
*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.
** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password