27 October 2016, New York – European Union Intervention at the 71st United Nations General Assembly Third Committee Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Belarus
We would like to thank you for your valuable work and a very timely and comprehensive report. We welcome its focus on the human rights in electoral processes in Belarus, especially in the context of parliamentary elections that took place in the country on 11 September 2016. We continue to support your mandate and we appreciate your cooperation with other UN special procedures. We regret that the Government of Belarus has refused to cooperate with you and that your letters of request to visit the country have remained unanswered.
We note certain positive developments in Belarus, such as the release of political prisoners, cooperation with OSCE/ODIHR as well as the reestablishment of a human rights dialogue between the EU and Belarus and current work on the national human rights action plan. However, we are concerned by the shortcomings of the September elections. We note with regret that the political and civil rights of former political prisoners have not been restored, meaning that they were unable to participate in the elections.
Pluralistic parliaments ensure good governance the rule of law and protect and promote human rights by adopting laws that conform to international human rights standards. They should be inclusive, accountable and effective.
We think that now is the right time for Belarus to fulfil its declaration on introducing democratic reforms. We will continue to strongly insist on respecting human rights and to encourage the Belarusian government to carry out necessary reforms in a genuine and sustainable manner, including the abolishment of the death penalty. We note that the Special Rapporteur recalls that the current legislation could easily be amended to allow for free and fair elections.
In this regard and in relation to your report’s focus, Mr. Haraszti, we would like to repeat the question posed by us last year and given the new findings ask you: What would it take to make future elections in Belarus truly competitive and how could we the international community encourage president Lukashenko to engage in a serious dialogue about this? The above-mentioned positive developments show that there might be some openness at the moment.
Thank you for your attention.
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