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Source: Viasna Belarus Human Rights Center in English

On October 12, an online pre-session was held for UN Human Rights Council delegations as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) procedure.
The session featured submissions from a number of Belarusian non-governmental human rights organizations, including the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, the Belarusian Youth Council “Rada”, Legal Initiative, the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, and the Belarusian Association of Journalists.
Belarusian human rights defenders spoke about the recent developments in the field of human rights and voiced their priority recommendations to be forwarded to the government during the UPR procedure.
In particular, Viasna human rights activist Valiantsin Stefanovich called for the release of political prisoners and administratively detained protesters, and an end to violence against peaceful demonstrators. The activist also reminded of the need to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty.
Andrei Taranda, an adviser to the Belarusian embassy in Geneva, said about “progress in the field of human rights” and “one-sided selection” of non-governmental organizations for the event. He was told that any public organization could take part in the pre-session.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a human rights mechanism established by the United Nations in 2006 to ensure that each member state of the Human Rights Council informs the other member states of the Council of improvements in the sphere of human rights. Every state is free to make recommendations to the reporting state.
Belarus will undergo the third cycle of reporting under the UPR. The hearing will take place at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in November 2020. The Government of Belarus has prepared a report within the UPR procedure. A coalition of human rights organizations, in turn, has prepared an alternative report on the implementation of human rights obligations by the Republic of Belarus and has already sent it to the UN.
On October 16, at 2 pm, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Belarusian human rights organizations will hold a briefing for the embassies of European Union countries, Great Britain, Switzerland and the United States and a number of delegations of the Human Rights Council. The meeting will involve representatives of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, the Center for Legal Transformation Lawtrend, and the Belarusian Association of Journalists.


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