Updated at 20:13,20-03-2018

Foreign ministry receives recommendations of UN Committee Against Torture


The Belarusian foreign ministry has receіved the recommendations of the UN Committee Against Torture, the ministry's spokesman, Andrey Savinykh, said at Thursday's briefing.

Appropriate governmental agencies will assess the recommendations and draw final conclusions, Mr. Savinykh said.

In concluding observations released following November 11 and 14 meetings of the Committee Against Torture, which saw representatives of the Belarusian government and of rights organizations deliver diametrically opposite reports on the situation in Belarus, the Committee called on the Belarusian government to promptly investigate all reports of torture and ill-treatment of detainees.

Belarus should ensure investigation into the cases of disappeared persons, namely, Yury Zakharanka, Viktar Hanchar, Anatol Krasowski, and Dzmitry Zavadski, with the aim of obtaining reliable information of their whereabouts and should clarify what happened to them, the Committee said.

It called on the Belarusian government to "establish an independent and effective mechanism to facilitate submission of complaints by victims of torture and ill treatment to public authorities, including obtaining medical evidence in support of their allegations, and to ensure in practice that complainants are protected against any ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of their complaint or any evidence given."

The government should ensure that, in cases of alleged torture, suspects are suspended from duty immediately for the duration of the investigation, particularly if there is a risk that they might otherwise be in a position to obstruct the investigation, the Committee said.

Belarus should report on the outcome of the investigation into the cases of Messrs. Ales Mikhalevich, Andrey Sannikaw, Alyaksandr Atroshchankaw, Uladzimir Nyaklyayew, Natallya Radzina and Maya Abromchyck, and the broader allegations of indiscriminate and disproportionate force used by riot police against approximately 300 people during a post-election demonstration staged in Minsk on December 19, 2010, the Committee said.

The Committee urged Belarus to inform it about the outcome of the investigation into the alleged threats against and harassment by the authorities of human rights defenders and journalists, including Iryna Khalip, Andrzej Poczobut, Aleh Gulak, and Ales Byalyatski.

The Committee also recommended Belarus to consider ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.