First-hand Information From Inside Belarus: Invitation to a Side-event on 12 September, Warsaw

Photo: OSCE

On 12 September 2018, FIDH shall take part in a side-event that it organises together with Belarusian civil society organisations in the framework of the annual Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM). Speakers will raise issues of the latest attacks on independent media and independent trade unions, developments around the application of death penalty and legislation placing lawyers under the control of the executive.

Event: "Current situation of civil and political rights in Belarus: First-hand information from inside"
Date: Wednesday, 12th September 2018
Time: 13:15-14:45
Venue: Warsaw, Sofitel-Victoria Hotel (Krolewska str.11), Meeting Room 2
Working languages: English, Russian

Organised by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, HDIM is an advocacy event gathering hundreds of human rights defenders from 57 participating states. Civil society is invited to raise the problems in terms of human rights in various forms during the event, including debates during side-events.

Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs of Belarusin cooperation with the Human Rights Center "Viasna", International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Legal Transformation Centre and Belarusian Association of Journalists cordially invite you to discuss the freshest developments in Belarus. While the government recently submitted to the UN a report that was due 20 years ago, civil society organisations will draw your attention to those aspects of civic life that often remain behind the regime’s will to portray progress in terms of the human rights situation. Moreover, Belarusian human rights NGOs prepared their own alternative report which will be presented to the international public at a side event at HDIM 2018.

During the presentation, representatives of the Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs, the Human Rights Center Viasna, the Belarusian Association of Journalists and the Legal Transformation Center (Lawtrend) will assess the latest legislative changes relating to freedom of the media, freedom of assembly, current situation with execution of capital punishments in Belarus, as well as the forthcoming easing of liability for acting on of unregistered organizations. They will also air the national civil society’s vision of how human rights are impacted by "Inter-agency Plan for Implementing the recommendations addressed to the Republic of Belarus within the framework of the UN Mechanisms” which has been implemented by the Government of Belarus since November 2016.

Representatives of the Belarusian Association of Journalists will tell about the recent attacks, in August this year, on independent media in Belarus in the form of new criminal cases against journalists and editors of a number of independent news portals and the private news agency, as well as in the form of indiscriminate searches and confiscation of professional equipment.

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) will shed light on the current situation of lawyers in Belarus. In June 2018, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, an FIDH-OMCT partnership, in collaboration with the Paris Bar and Human Rights Centre “Viasna”, published a report documenting restrictions on the independence of lawyers in Belarus. Based on an investigation conducted in January 2018, the report criticises the Belarusian legislation that allows the executive power to control the profession of lawyers.

Next day, September 13, a discussion on the Belarusian problems in the fields of HDIM will be continued within the framework at the round table Belarus – repressions behind the "liberalization" façade, prepared by the Belarusian House in Warsaw: Sofitel-Victoria Hotel (Krolewska str.11), Opera Hall, 13:15-14:45

The Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) of OSCE participating States is Europe’s largest annual human rights and democracy conference. It is organized every year by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) as a platform for the 57 OSCE participating States, the OSCE Partners for Co-operation, OSCE structures, civil society, international organizations and other relevant actors to take stock of the implementation of OSCE human dimension commitments, discuss associated challenges, share good practices and make recommendations for further improvement. 2018 HDIM will take place in Warsaw from 10 to 21 September 2018.

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