BHC and Viasna’s submission to Committee against Torture ahead of Belarus UPR session


Sourсe: Human Rights Center "Viasna"

The Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Human Rights Center "Viasna" have prepared a number of issues and questions to be addressed to the government of Belarus during the forthcoming review of its human rights record at the 70th session of the UN Committee against Torture.

More than 80 issues are divided into two sections: issues related to the institutional framework for combating torture and ill-treatment, and issues related to the events of August 9-13, 2020 and the following months in connection with the post-election protests.

Since the adoption by the Committee against Torture of the last Concluding observation on the fifth periodic report of Belarus (CAT/C/BLR/CO/5), the Government has shown no progress in implementing recommendations aimed at improving measures to combat torture and ill-treatment, either in law or in practice.

The absence of effective tools to prevent and respond to acts of torture was one of the reasons for the events of August 9-13 and the following months, when thousands of citizens were subjected to torture, for which no one has so far been held responsible. The existing mechanisms were not able to prevent and provide an adequate response to the mass torture that occurred in Belarus during the post-election period.

Belarus has not yet established the National Preventive Mechanism for the prevention of torture, the Criminal Code does not criminalize all acts of torture under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (hereinafter ‘Convention’), a real mechanism of public control over places of detention has not yet been established, there are no guarantees of independence of investigative bodies.