As Delivered by Michael G. Dozler
32nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council
June 21, 2016
Thank you Mr. Vice President.
The United States expresses its appreciation for the continued reporting of the Special Rapporteur and calls on members of this Council to support the renewal of his important mandate. The United States calls upon the government of Belarus to cooperate with the special rapporteur and grant him a country visit as soon as possible. His important work supporting civil society and providing recommendations for electoral reform in Belarus must continue.
The release of six political prisoners in August 2015 and the peaceful conduct of the presidential election in October were welcome developments.
However, the OSCE election observation mission’s final report concluded that, “The October election once again indicated that Belarus still has a considerable way to go in meeting its OSCE commitments for democratic elections.” We hope to see meaningful improvements in line with OSCE’s recommendations during September’s parliamentary elections.
We continue to have significant concerns regarding the human rights situation in Belarus. The government continues to impose restrictions on opposition parties, civil society, and independent media. The government also continues to restrict the right to peaceful freedom of assembly by requiring permission to organize an event, yet routinely denying this permission, and sentencing those who participate in unsanctioned peaceful rallies to pay large fines.
The government also continues to deny registration to NGOs and political parties on a variety of pretexts.
In our support for the mandate, we ask the special rapporteur to identify additional steps that the international community can take to improve the human rights situation in Belarus.