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Advance questions and statement to Belarus

Advance Questions

1, How do the Belarusian authorities plan to safeguard the rights of its citizens, amongst them political opponents, journalists and human rights activists, to free and fair elections in the expected presidential election this year? What steps will be taken to ensure that the vents of December 2010 are not repeated?

 2,  What steps will the authorities take to comply with the recommendations made by the OSCE representative on Freedom of Media?

3,  When will the authorities allow the Special Rapporteur on human rights unfettered access to Belarus?

Statement

Mr. President,

Norway welcomes the Government of Belarus participation in the UPR process.

Norway notes with regret that the Government of Belarus has made little effort to improve on its systemic denial of human rights to its citizens since the last review.

Norway recommends that the Belarusian government:

1. Establish an immediate moratorium on the death penalty with a view to its permanent abolition.

2. Grant unfettered access to Belarus for the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus and other special procedures mandate holders, comply with the recommendations of the Rapporteur's reports without delay and resume cooperation with all international organizations.

3. Release immediately and unconditionally all political prisoners - members of the opposition, human rights defenders and activists, ensure their full rehabilitation, and lift travel and other restrictions imposed on political prisoners who have been pardoned.

4. Amend the law on mass media to ensure it does not unduly restrict freedom of expression, in line with recommendations made by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.