EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Archive for the ‘Belarus’ Category

Death Penalty Statistics, Country By Country

Posted by Info on 23/05/2013

The latest statistics show that China executes thousands, said AI in its report on the death penalty worldwide. The report does not provide a precise figure of executions in China as Beijing keeps such figures secret.

China, together with IranNorth KoreaYemen and the US (the only G7 country to still execute people) carried out the most executions last year.

Europe and Central Asia
Belarus was the only country in Europe and Central Asia to carry out executions, and did so under strict secrecy, with at least three men put to death in 2012. Latvia became the 97th country in the world to become abolitionist for all crimes, after removing the last capital crimes from its legislation during 2012.
Amnesty International executions around the world

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Amnesty Report Notes Worldwide Abuses

Posted by Info on 23/05/2013

The findings were published on May 23 in Amnesty International’s annual report, “The State of the World’s Human Rights,” for 2012 and documents abuses in 159 countries and territories.

Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty: “Governments have been created to protect the rights of their citizens, but we then have governments who are actually doing exactly the opposite, who are actually violating the rights of their own citizens and people who are living inside their boundaries. So I think in this day and age the excuse of national sovereignty, that these are internal affairs, is simply not acceptable.”

The researchers say that there has been a suppression of freedom of expression to varying degrees in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

Kazakh authorities used “excessive force” to break up strikes and public protests by oil and gas workers in southwestern Kazakhstan from May through the end of 2012. Hundreds of employees were dismissed, dozens of protesters, trade unionists, and opposition activists were detained, and at least 16 people were killed during clashes between protesters and police in December 2011. The report also says refugees were forcibly returned to China and Uzbekistan, despite international protests.

Torture and ill-treatment remains widespread in Tajikistan while impunity for perpetrators continued. The assessment says independent monitoring bodies were given “no access to detention facilities.” It notes that children, elderly people, and witnesses in criminal cases endured torture that included “the use of electric shocks, boiling water, suffocation, beatings and burnings with cigarettes.”

Uzbekistan has restricted the freedom of expression because human rights campaigners and journalists are continually harassed. 10 journalists and human rights defenders remained imprisoned in “cruel, inhuman, and degrading conditions.”  The  suspected members of banned religious groups are a particular target of ill-treatment by Uzbek authorities.

That torture and other forms of ill-treatment of those suspected of criminal offenses remain widespread in Turkmenistan. It cites electric shocks, rape, and the forcible administration of psychotropic drugs among the methods employed by authorities against suspects. It said freedom of movement remained drastically restricted.

 In Russia, increased peaceful political protests have prompted “repression,” including restrictive new laws and the harassment of rights activists, journalists, and lawyers.  The number of apparently politically motivated verdicts is on the rise. The situation is said to be particularly bad in the volatile North Caucasus, where Amnesty says Russia often fails to properly investigate claims of abuses by law enforcement officials. The assessment says torture and ill-treatment of detainees remain a problem.

 Kyrgyz authorities were guilty of ethnic discrimination after deadly clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz three years ago.

In Georgia the new government is dealing with a delicate political balancing act.

The Amnesty report calls on Belarus to abolish the death penalty, which it says has been carried out in a “cruel and inhuman” way. Executions are conducted in “utmost secrecy” with neither the condemned nor their relatives being informed in advance.

It criticizes Moldova for not doing enough to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation. Moldova was also cited for a law mandating the chemical castration of violent child abusers.

Ukraine is plagued by failings in its criminal justice system and a lack of safeguards for detainees. The rights of homosexuals and transgenders are at risk because of pending legislation.

Amnesty-International

Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

Russian Journalist Deported From Belarus, Deny Acces For 3 Years

Posted by Info on 26/10/2011

Moskovsky reporter Igor Karmazin, who arrived in Minsk to report on the imprisoned opposition politicians, was deported from the country.

The reporter met with Nikita Likhovidov, who was found guilty and then pardoned by President Alexander Lukashenko and with journalist Irina Khalip, a wife of former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov.
After interviewing Khalip two men came up to Karmazin and asked him to follow them. He was taken to a police station, searched and had all the files on his voice recorder erased. They questioned him about what he was talking to Khalip about and fingerprinted him.
Then the Russian journalist was given a paper barring him from entering Belarus, under threat of three years in prison if he was to do so.
His deportation was recorded in his passport. The journalist was then put on a train back to Moscow.

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Two Decades Since USSR Broke Up. What Happened To Soviet Countries?

Posted by Info on 23/10/2011

Twenty years on from the Soviet coup gave birth to 15 new states. Guardian data team mined statistics from sources ranging from the World Bank, the UNHCR, the UN Crime Trends Survey and the Happy Planet Index to compare the performance of the countries, combed through the OSCE’s reports on every election in each country since 1991 to see where democracy was taking hold – and where it was not wanted.

THE BALTIC REPUBLICS

Democratic records are exemplary, but the countries sit surprisingly low on international measures for wellbeing and happiness.

THE EU BORDERLANDS UKRAINE, BELARUS and MOLDOVA
Ukraine and Moldova sustained catastrophic economic contraction.. Belarus, under the autocratic rule of Alexander Lukashenko since 1994, suffered less. The troika has the weakest economic figures of all post-Soviet regions. Moldova has the best record of free and fair elections, BUT with return a communist (Vladimir Voronin) to power. Moldova also hosts to one of the post-Soviet space’s many frozen conflicts of the Transdniestr region Ukraine’s democratic turning point – the orange revolution of 2004 – rapidly gave way to paralysis and stalemate… In Belarus, Lukashenko has faced lengthy international isolation for crushing opposition and dissent.

THE CAUCASUS
Azerbaijan’s oil dividend makes it one of the strongest performing economies. Armenia and Georgia have both seen incipient growth through the 2000s rudely interrupted by the global recession of 2008/09. The frozen conflicts of Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan and Armenia) and Abkhazia (Georgia) ..Georgia and Russia has resulted in the only war between former Soviet republics (2008). Armenia suffers from the worst unemployment of all 15 republics, and democratic breakthroughs have been few – only Georgia has held free and fair elections.

CENTRAL ASIA
A mixed economic story: Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have expanded their economies more than 400 %. And although these are the happiest post-Soviet republics not one has held a genuinely free or fair election since 1990; central Asia is where elections are deferred or else won with 99 percent of the vote by dictators who lock up their opponents and even ban ballet and name a month of the year after their mother (Turkmenistan). Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are not post-Soviet at all: they have simply stuck with the strongmen who led them out of the Soviet Union. Turkmenistan the leader died in 2006, while Tajikistan’s Emomali Rahmon has run his republic uncontested since 1992. Only in Kyrgyzstan Soviet-era leader Askar Akayev was ousted in 2005.

RUSSIA
Russia has reversed its dramatic economic decline. .its life expectancy persisting below 70 on account of, among other factors, chronic problems with drug and alcohol abuse. Russia has the highest HIV rate (along with Ukraine), the highest homicide rate and the highest prison population of the former Soviet Union. Elections are once again foregone conclusions; governors, once elected, are now appointed. The ‘vertical’ of power centred on the Kremlin appears as strong as it was in Soviet times.

Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, EU, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, UN, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

In Belarus New Law: Treason = Working For Foreign Organization.

Posted by Info on 20/10/2011

New legislation about the secret police, still known as the KGB, lifts restrictions on the KGB’s use of weapons,gives officers the authority to break into residences and offices and to put his political opponents behind bars.

A new ban on receiving foreign funds carries a two-year prison sentence, while simply calling for an anti-government protest can send someone to prison for three years. The legislation is expanding the definition of treason in such a way as to cast possible suspicion on anyone working for a foreign organization.

The past summer saw a wave of demonstrations against Lukashenko’s regime by people who clapped their hands, stomped their feet or simply smiled. Initially caught by surprise, police quickly started rounding up demonstrators even though their actions did not violate any law because they chanted no anti-government slogans and carried no signs.

The set of legal amendments, passed at a closed session of parliament earlier this month and posted on a government web site Thursday, now give police formal justification for clamping down on those taking part in the protests despite the absence of any political demands. Gatherings for “active inaction” will now be banned.

A separate legal amendment expands the definition of treason to include “assisting a foreign state, a foreign organization or its representative to the detriment of Belarus’ national security,” which is punishable by a prison sentence from seven to 15 years.

Further the new legislation makes it illegal for political parties and movements to receive any funds from abroad or keep their money in foreign banks. It introduces a two-year prison term for those violating the ban. This may further hurt the case of Alex Belyatsky, the jailed leader of Vesna, the most prominent human rights group in Belarus.

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Venice Commission Calls Belarusian Laws Repressive

Posted by Info on 19/10/2011

The Venice Commission noted during the plenary session ( 15 October ) that most of human rights organizations in Belarus had been deprived of registration during the last ten years. The Venice Commission also regrets the amendments to the Criminal Code suppressing the freedom of association.

The Belarusian legislators approved amendments, which significantly expand KGB powers allowing breaking in homes and banning foreign financing of NGOs. Once the draft law is adopted, the security services will gain the right to break into NGO offices and residential homes if they think a crime has been committed there or a suspect is hiding there, the Commission reminds in a press release.

The Commission also criticizes Belarus as the only European country using death penalty.

The Venice Commission is Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional matters founded in 1990. The Commission analyzes law and draft laws relating to constitutional right, including election standards, rights of minorities, etc. The PACE often uses the Commission’s conclusions as reflection of “European standards in democracy”.

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Belarus: Lukashenko Pardons Jailed Ex-presidential Candidate

Posted by Info on 02/10/2011

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has pardoned another candidate in last year’s presidential election convicted for taking part in post-election protests.“Being guided by the principles of humanity…”

Ex-presidential candidate Dmitry Uss had been released from prison.
At least five of the nine losing candidates in December’s presidential elections were brought to trial and convicted following a brutal crackdown on rallies against the result of the vote, which Lukashenko won with a landslide.
Three losing candidates – Nikolai Statkevich, Dmitry Uss and Andrei Sannikov – were sentenced to prison terms ranging from five to six years in prison. The fourth, Vladimir Neklyaev, was sentenced to two years in prison with a two-year reprieve.
Another candidate, Ales Mikhalevich, fled the country and was granted political asylum in Czech Republic.
Vitaly Rymashevsky received a suspended sentence of two years.
So far, only Statkevich and Sannikov remain in jail.

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Lithuania Expands Blacklist Of Belarusian Officials

Posted by Info on 23/09/2011

Vilnius intends to add 18 Belarusian officials to those banned from entering Lithuania. These officials have relation to persecution of Belarusian Viasna Human Rights Centre and its leaders. The Viasna leader is in the detention facility Nr 1 in Minsk facing 7 years in prison.
Names and posts of the civil servants are not given, but they are “associated with the persecution of the Belarusian Human Rights Centre Viasna and its leaders”.

Lithuania has already called on other EU member states to consider a possibility of adding these Belarusian officials to their national lists of persons declared persona non grata in their countries.

The EU has already imposed travel ban on 200 Belarusian top officials due to crackdown on the opposition conducted by official Minsk.

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European Parliament’s Human Rights Resolutions On Belarus

Posted by Info on 16/09/2011

At its Plenary sessions Parliament called for the immediate and unconditional release of Belorussian human rights defender Ales Bialatski.

MEPs express deep concern at the deteriorating situation of human rights defenders in Belarus. They strongly condemn the recent arrest of and allegations against Ales Bialiatski, Chair of the “Viasna” Human Rights Centre and the Belarusian authorities’ failure to respect the fundamental rights of freedom of assembly and expression.

Given the “unprecedented crackdown on civil society in Belarus following the presidential elections in December 2010”, MEPs believe that the criminal case against Ales Bialiatski is politically motivated and intended to obstruct his legitimate work as a human rights defender. They call for Ales Bialiatski to be “immediately and unconditionally released from custody and for the investigation and all the charges against him to be dropped”.

Parliament also calls on the Council, the Commission and foreign policy High Representative Catherine Ashton to step up their pressure on the Belarusian authority.

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Belarus: Hearings Into Minsk Metro Blast Starts – Was It Terrorist Act?

Posted by Info on 15/09/2011

A powerful bomb explosion occurred at the Oktybrskaya metro station in Minsk in the rush hour on April 11, 2011. Fifteen people died and about 200, including three Russian nationals, were injured.

An open hearing into this Minsk explosion is starting today. Dmitry Konovalov and Vlad Kovalev, both born in Vitebsk in 1986, will face trial on charges of terrorism. Konovalov is also accused of staging explosions in his native Vitebsk on September 14 and 22, 2005 and in Minsk on the night from July 3 to 4, 2008.

Under Belarusian laws, people convicted on charges of terrorism may face DEATH PENALTY.

Investigators have no information that some contractors and organizers stood behind the two young men. According to the deputy chief prosecutor Andrei Shved, the motives behind the actions were personal.
“A hypertrophic feeling of self-importance and general dislike of people pushed them to committing this crime,” said Oleg Kotenev from the anti-terror centre of the State Security Committee of Belarus.

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Poland Continue To Support Belarusian opposition

Posted by Info on 07/09/2011

Polish Premier Donald Tusk said:
We will support the Belarusian opposition in order to conduct dialog in accordance with democratic standards, not to [President] Alexander Lukashenko’s dictation.”
He added that democratic changes were a precondition for financial aid from Warsaw to Belarus, where frequent protests coincided with a sharp downturn in living standards. Financial aid will be possible only after free and fair elections are held in the country.

A number of jailed Belarusian opposition members were released in early September.

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Scotland Bank Agrees With Human Rights Groups And EndS Work For Belarus

Posted by Info on 29/08/2011

Royal Bank of Scotland has said it will no longer do fundraising work for the Belarus government following a campaign by human rights groups which argued that companies such as RBS were helping to support the regime of “Europe’s last dictator”.

“Given sanctions, the deteriorating political situation in Belarus and the fact that it has reneged on key elements of the IMF programme, RBS has ceased any type of capital-raising for or on behalf of the Belarus Republic, and we have no plans to change that position until these issues have been resolved,”
said RBS in a statement.
RBS has sent a clear signal not to risk investing in an regime that violates fundamental human rights and may not last”

Belarus is facing an economic crisis and is in talks with the International Monetary Fund about a possible loan, but the organisation wants to see major changes in the economy before extending financial help.

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Belarus Decided To Blacklist Lithuanian TV Journalist

Posted by Info on 25/08/2011

Belarusian border guards denied entry to a Lithuanian film crew saying that TV journalist Ruta Lankininkaite, who was part of the group, was included in the personae non grata list and annulled her visa.

The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry summoned on Wednesday Belarusian Ambassador Vladimir Drazhin to explain the incident.
The Baltic state is known for its support of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s opponents. In June, a House of United Belarus, that brings together Belarusian political immigrants, was opened in Vilnius. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis hailed the idea and expressed hope that Belarus would return to “democracy and freedom”.

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Poland Dismisses 2 Prosecutors for Exposing Belarus Activist

Posted by Info on 18/08/2011

Poland has dismissed two prosecutors who played a role in giving Belarus financial data about leading human rights activist Ales Belyatskyinformation which led to his arrest.
Earlier this month, financial police in Minsk arrested Belyatsky and charged him with tax evasion. The move came after Polish prosecutors shared the details of a bank account he had in Poland to finance the human rights group, Vyasna, which he founded.
The two prosecutors provided the information despite recommendations from the Foreign Ministry on how to handle such cases.

The rights group Vyasna denounced the case against Belyatsky as politically motivated, saying the charges against him are “punishment and retribution” for his long-running work defending human rights.

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Belarus: Lukashenko Pardoned Political Prisoners

Posted by Info on 15/08/2011

All nine participants of the December 19 protests in Minsk whom Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko recently pardoned, have been released from prison.
The list of paroled protesters does not include six former presidential candidates; they will continue serving their terms varying from two to five and half years in Belarusian colonies. One other presidential candidate, Ales Mihalevich, secretly left Belarus and received political asylum in the Czech Republic.

The charter of pardon of 9 persons was signed by Alyaksandr Lukashenka on August 11. “Such a decision had been adopted on the grounds of petitions for pardon of the above-mentioned persons, considering the fact that they had acknowledged the criminal character of their actions, admitted fault and repented sincerely,” the press-service of the president informed.

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