Human Rights Council Thirty-fifth session

6–23 June 2017

Agenda item 4

Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on 23 June 2017

35/27. 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 32/26 of 1 July 2016, 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 acknowledging 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 and the European Union.

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

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

rights in Belarus of 21 April 2017;1

2. Expresses continued concern at the situation of human rights and

fundamental freedoms in Belarus, especially the freedoms of peaceful assembly,

association and expression, as demonstrated by the response of the Government of Belarus

to the February and March 2017 peaceful protests; the continued allegations of torture and

inhuman or degrading treatment by law enforcement and prison officers, which are not

properly investigated by the authorities; the ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders

and civil society organizations, many of which are denied registration or raided by the

authorities; the arrest of journalists in March 2017 and various infringements on freedom of

1 A/HRC/35/40.

expression, including by the media; and urges the Government to fully respect the freedoms

of expression, peaceful assembly and association;

3. Deplores the lack of response by the Government of Belarus to cases of

arbitrary arrest and detention of political and social activists, the unwillingness of

prosecutors to investigate cases of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, the

impunity of perpetrators of crimes involving human rights violations and abuses, the

pressure on defence lawyers and the lack of effective legal remedies; and also deplores the

absence of specific and comprehensive anti-discrimination laws, which affects individuals

belonging to vulnerable groups and religious minorities;

4. Reiterates its call 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 its international human rights

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

any human right, and to invest in capacity-building and appropriate training of the judiciary

and law enforcement agencies;

5. Welcomes the adoption by the Government of Belarus on 24 October 2016 of

an inter-agency plan on human rights for the period 2016–2019 for the implementation of

the recommendations accepted by the Government during the second cycle of the universal

periodic review of Belarus and the recommendations by some treaty bodies, encourages the

Government to review and amend the plan by including recommendations by human rights

mechanisms and by taking into account suggestions made by civil society organizations,

and welcomes the submission of the fifth report by the Government on the implementation

of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in March 2017;

6. 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, and, taking into account that transparency is a requirement of fair and effective

criminal justice, requests the Special Rapporteur to continue to monitor developments and

to make recommendations;

7. Urges the Government of Belarus, in the light of the developments in

February and March 2017, to take all measures necessary to ensure the full independence

and impartiality of the judiciary, to guarantee the right to a fair trial and the right to an

effective review of sentences and convictions by a higher tribunal, and to provide for the

right of all defendants to freely choose legal representation throughout all proceedings;

8. Recalls that it welcomed the release of political prisoners in August 2015,

and called for the full reinstatement of the civil and political rights of former political

prisoners; however, political activists continue to be ill-treated and faced with invented

charges, while there has been no progress on outstanding cases of enforced disappearance

of political opponents;

9. Urges Belarus to implement without delay the comprehensive reform of the

electoral legal framework and to address long-standing systemic shortcomings pertaining to

the electoral legal framework and practices ahead of the local elections early in 2018,

following the recommendations made by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human

Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European

Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission) and the Special


10. Again 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

11. 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-eighth session and to the General Assembly at its seventy-third session;

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

Rapporteur, including by providing him access to visit the country in order to assist the

Government in fulfilling its international human rights obligations and by considering

implementation of his recommendations, and also urges the Government to extend full

cooperation to thematic special procedures;

13. 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 his mandate, and requests the latter to continue to monitor

developments and make recommendations.

37th meeting

23 June 2017

[Adopted by a recorded vote of 18 to 8, with 21 abstentions. The voting was as follows:

In favour:

Albania, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Japan, Latvia,

Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovenia,

Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United

States of America


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

Philippines, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)


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

Ethiopia, Georgia, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nigeria,

Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab


2 General Assembly resolution 70/1.