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Norway's statement during the ID with the SR on Belarus

Mr. President,

Norway thanks the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Belarus for his report. In our view, the Special Rapporteur is fulfilling his mandate in a commendable manner despite being denied access to the country. 

We again urge Belarusian authorities to recognize the Rapporteur’s mandate and co-operate fully with him. It is clearly in the Belarusian Government’s own interest that the Special Rapporteur is able to independently verify the human rights situation in Belarus. In our view, Belarus cannot expect substantial, sustainable improvement in its international relations unless positive changes are seen. The upcoming presidential elections provide the authorities with an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to fundamental rights.

We note with regret that the Government of Belarus has made little effort to end the systemic denial of human rights to its citizens since the Rapporteur’s last report, and that the situation has even deteriorated in some respects. We also note with regret that it has been difficult or impossible to find information on progress in areas that have previously been marked as positive developments, such as the parliamentary committee on the death penalty. We call on the Government of Belarus to address the concerns raised in the report.

Norway again urges Belarusian authorities to put an immediate end to the use of capital punishment.

We reiterate our call for the unconditional and immediate release and full rehabilitation of all political prisoners, human rights defenders and activists.

Question: Political contacts with Belarus have increased in the wake of the illegal Russian annexation of Crimea and destabilization of
Ukraine and the entire region. To some extent this is also reflected in statements by the Belarusian Government. Have you noted any implications of this development for the human rights situation?