Belarus, backers search to dam speeches at UN rights physique


GENEVA — A consultant of Belarus, backed by Russia, China and Venezuela, tried and didn’t restrict speeches because the UN’s prime human rights physique held an pressing debate Friday on alleged rights violations by Belarusian authorities below President Alexander Lukashenko.

The president of the Human Rights Council put an finish to the repeated interruptions of audio system by the 4 international locations — which in essence argued a breach of procedural guidelines. Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, the Austrian ambassador in Geneva, allowed audio system who included Lukashenko’s fundamental election challenger to proceed decrying a string of alleged rights violations in Belarus.

“The council’s consideration of the current occasions in Belarus is well timed,” UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet mentioned in remarks delivered by her deputy. “Peaceable mass demonstrations have continued to contest the declared results of final month’s presidential elections.”

“We’re witnessing hundreds of arrests. A whole bunch of studies of torture and different ill-treatment, together with sexual violence and the reported torture of kids,” Bachelet’s assertion mentioned, referring to a police crackdown on post-election protests in addition to alleged actions from a decade in the past. “Excellencies, it’s critical for the way forward for Belarus to interrupt these cycles of accelerating repression and violence.”

In a dramatic battle on the usually staid Human Rights Council, Belarus’ ambassador, Yury Ambrazevich, took the ground to insist that permitting UN human rights advocates and different audio system to deal with the council violated the foundations, arguing that solely nationwide envoys must be allowed to talk. The council president overrode the objections.

Ambrazevich broke in briefly seconds after Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the previous English trainer who positioned second to Lukashenko within the disputed presidential election, mentioned in a video message that peaceable protesters have been being intentionally crushed and raped in Belarus whereas some “have been discovered useless.”

“We request that the intervention by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya be stopped,” the Belarusian ambassador mentioned, referring to the opposition chief and her remarks.

Council president Tichy-Fisslberger disregarded the enchantment and the previous presidential candidate completed her assertion.

Ambrazevich, in his extra elaborate response, shot again, faulting the “mass media and social networks” for displaying a “lopsided image of actuality introduced by the losers within the elections.”

“We deny the unfounded accusations of sexual violence towards protesters. There isn’t a official report of this. There isn’t a affirmation additionally of claims that folks disappeared in affiliation with the protests,” he mentioned. “As on the subject of political detentions, this has not taken place. Some folks have been taken into custody in compliance with the authorized procedural code.”

The controversy, throughout which a number of European Union international locations spoke out in favor of the audio system and decried rights violations in Belarus, got here because the 47-member-nation council ready to vote on a decision introduced by Germany that raises issues about torture, “arbitrary deprivations of life,” and sexual and gender-based violence linked to the Aug. 9 presidential election.

The decision additionally cited alleged intimidation, harassment and detention of opponents of Lukashenko’s authorities earlier than and after the election. The autocratic Lukashenko, who has dominated the ex-Soviet republic for 26 years, was declared the winner, however opposition activists have challenged the election as rigged.

The European Union and the US authorities have referred to as the vote neither free nor honest and urged the federal government to enter a dialogue with the opposition as post-election protests proceed.

The German decision needs Bachelet to look into current violations and report again to the council by year-end. That will entail a comparatively fast-track response for the usually deliberate and slow-moving council.

Germany’s transfer advised pace was amongst its priorities. The decision stops wanting searching for extra onerous, in-depth measures within the council’s arsenal, equivalent to deploying a fact-finding mission or assembling a panel of specialists to look at the state of affairs.

The textual content cites allegations of “torture and merciless, inhuman or degrading remedy or punishment by regulation enforcement and jail officers.” It calls on Belarus authorities to “stop the usage of extreme pressure towards peaceable demonstrators” and cease arbitrary arrests on political grounds and launch all political prisoners, journalists and others detained across the election cycle.

A decision organising the pressing debate was adopted Monday on a 25-2 vote with 20 abstentions. Many European nations voted in favor and plenty of African nations abstained.


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