Human Rights Council Thirty-second session

Agenda item 4

Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on 1 July 2016

32/26. Situation of human rights in Belarus

The Human Rights Council,

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the

provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on

Human Rights and other applicable human rights instruments,

Recalling all resolutions adopted by the Commission on Human Rights, the General

Assembly and the Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights in Belarus,

including Council resolution 29/17 of 2 July 2015, and deploring the inadequate response

and lack of cooperation by the Government of Belarus to the requests made by the Council

in those resolutions, including the denial of access to the Special Rapporteur on the

situation of human rights in Belarus and other special procedure mandate holders to the

country, while noting the growing openness of Belarus to cooperation with the Office for

Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and

Cooperation in Europe,

Recalling also Human Rights Council resolutions 5/1 and 5/2 of 18 June 2007,

1. Welcomes the reports of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human

rights in Belarus;1

2. Expresses concern at the situation of human rights in Belarus, the ongoing

violations and the use of torture and ill-treatment in custody, the lack of response by the

Government of Belarus to cases of enforced disappearance of political opponents, the

impunity of perpetrators of human rights violations, the violations of labour rights

amounting to forced labour, the significant gaps in anti-discrimination legislation, the

pressure on defence lawyers and the lack of participation of opposition political parties in


3. Calls upon the Government of Belarus to carry out a comprehensive review

of relevant legislation, policies, strategies and practices to ensure that the provisions are

clearly defined, consistent with international human rights law and with its human rights

1 A/HRC/32/48 and A/70/313.

obligations and commitments, and not used to impede or unduly restrict the exercise of any

human right, including the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to peaceful

assembly and the right to freedom of association, including to form and join a trade union,

and the freedom of the media;

4. Acknowledges the engagement of Belarus in the twenty-second session of the

universal periodic review, in 2015, calls upon Belarus to continue to work on the

implementation of accepted review recommendations with the full participation of all of

civil society, and takes note of the preparatory work done to date on its national plan of

action on human rights;

5. Notes the continued attention paid by the Special Rapporteur to the issue of

the death penalty in Belarus, and in particular expresses deep concern at its use without

guarantee of due process and at the limited amount of relevant information with regard to

its use, including the number of persons sentenced to death or executed and the crimes for

which it is applied, taking into account that transparency is a requirement of fair and

effective criminal justice, requests him to continue to monitor developments and to make

recommendations, and in this regard encourages the parliamentary working group on the

death penalty to expedite its work;

6. Urges the Government of Belarus to carry out a comprehensive reform of the

justice sector and bar associations in order to guarantee the full independence and

impartiality of the judiciary, the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial and the

right to an effective review of sentences and convictions by a higher tribunal established by

law and to freely chosen legal representation throughout all proceedings, and the

availability of information on the implementation of all sentences, while encouraging the

Government to continue to reform the judiciary;

7. Welcomes the release of political prisoners in August 2015, calls for the

reinstatement of the civil and political rights of former political prisoners, in particular in

view of the parliamentary election of September 2016, strongly urges the Government of

Belarus to address, through comprehensive, transparent and credible investigations, reports

of torture and ill-treatment by law-enforcement officials and to prosecute alleged

perpetrators and punish those found guilty, and to put an immediate end to the arbitrary

arrest, detention and harassment of human rights defenders, political opponents and

journalists, to arbitrary travel bans and to other policies aimed at intimidating

representatives of the political opposition and the media, and human rights defenders and

civil society organizations, including by criminalizing the exercise of the right to freedom

of association;

8. Urges Belarus to take all necessary steps ahead of the parliamentary election

of September 2016 to reform its electoral legislation, and to follow the recommendations

made by the Special Rapporteur and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human

Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in this regard, while

welcoming the growing openness of Belarus to dialogue and cooperation with the Office,

takes positive note of the establishment of an inter-agency group on electoral reform by the

Government of Belarus, urges Belarus to ensure that the parliamentary election is free, fair,

inclusive and peaceful while providing for the equal treatment of all candidates before,

during and after the vote, and to issue an invitation to the Office for it to conduct an

election observation mission;

9. Strongly encourages the Government of Belarus to establish a national

human rights institution in accordance with the principles relating to the status of national

institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (the Paris Principles), and to

engage actively in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;2

10. Decides to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of

human rights in Belarus for a period of one year, and requests the Special Rapporteur to

submit a report on the situation of human rights in Belarus to the Human Rights Council at

its thirty-fifth session and to the General Assembly at its seventy-second session;

11. Urges the Government of Belarus to cooperate fully with the Special

Rapporteur, including by providing him access to visit the country with a view to assisting

the Government in fulfilling its international human rights obligations, and also urges the

Government to extend full cooperation to thematic special procedures;

12. Requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human

Rights to provide the Special Rapporteur with the assistance and resources necessary to

allow the fulfilment of the mandate.

45th meeting

1 July 2016

[Adopted by a recorded vote of 15 to 9, with 23 abstentions. The voting was as follows:

In favour:

Albania, Belgium, France, Germany, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama,

Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, the former

Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and

Northern Ireland


Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burundi, China, Cuba, India, Nigeria,

Russian Federation, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam


Algeria, Bangladesh, Botswana, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, El Salvador,

Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives,

Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South

Africa, Togo, United Arab Emirates]

2 General Assembly resolution 70/1.