PRI at the UN Committee against Torture: review of Belarus
On 10 November 2011, Penal Reform International, along with a group of independent Belarusian human rights NGOs, with the cooperation of Human Rights House, provided oral evidence in relation to the review of Belarus at the 47th session of the United Nations Committee against Torture. A copy of PRI’s oral statement (delivered by Jacqueline Macalesher, Death Penalty Project Manager) to the Committee against Torture can be downloaded here.
The priority recommendations raised by the NGO coalition regarding the implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Belarus included:
• Establishment of legal controls to prevent torture including a legal definition of torture;
• Investigate the illegal use of force by police, prison and other security officials, to guarantee that there is not impunity from prosecution;
• Independently monitor prisons and other places of detention;
• Strengthen the parliamentary Working Group on the Death Penalty to work towards implementing a moratorium, and provide information to the family of those executed as to the place of burial;
• Uphold and guarantee the independence of the judiciary and lawyers.
The oral evidence was supported by a joint NGO report on the implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by the Republic of Belarus. The report was prepared by a group of Belarusian independent non-governmental organisations: Committee “Solidarity”, Legal Initiative, the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, Centre for Legal Transformation, National Civil Society Platform, and the Human Rights Centre “Viasna“, in partnership with Penal Reform International and Human Rights House.
On 11 and 14 November the UN Committee against Torture began its consideration of the fourth periodic report (CAT/C/BLR/4) submitted by Belarus. Mikhail Khvostov, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Belarus to the United Nations at Geneva, presented the report which covers how it implemented the provisions of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment during the period from September 1999 to August 2009.
A Webcast, provided by the Human Rights House Network and the Centre for Civil and Political Rights, of the Committee’s review of Belarus can be accessed here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/cat-webcast1
The concluding observations of the Committee against Torture will be published in the last week of November.
PRI Oral Statement to CAT_Belarus Death Penalty_47th session
BELARUS NGO Report to CAT_FULL REPORT_47th session
BELARUS NGO Report to CAT_Summary_47th session