GENEVA, November 2, 2020 — Country speakers taking the floor today at the UN Human Rights Council showered praise on Belarus, during a mandatory human rights review that all UN member states undergo every five years. (See quotes at bottom).
While the UN procedure known as Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is meant to scrutinize governments and thereby strengthen the basic rights and freedoms of their citizens, according to a UN Watch count, 51 out of 92 countries, or 55 percent, praised Belarus for its human rights achievements.
This includes 36 countries that glowingly praised the repressive regime, and another 15 that expressed some praise for Belarus’s alleged achievements.
“At a time when the Lukashenko regime is harshly suppressing protests over presidential elections accused of being rigged, beating women on the streets, and throwing all opposition leaders in prison or into exile, the UN’s top human rights body should not become a forum of false praise for oppressors,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, an independent human rights organization.
However, Neuer welcomed the fact that at least a minority of 41 nations used their brief speaking time to apply real scrutiny to Belarus’s human rights record.
Below is a selection of the praise expressed by the majority of delegates:
Syria: “We welcome Belarus and commend its efforts to develop an institutional framework for protecting human rights at a domestic level.”
Venezuela: “We recognize that the enjoyment of full democratic rights of Belarusians are respected and we oppose any international interference.”
Cambodia: “Belarusian women in the decision-making process is commendable.”
China: “We respect the human rights development path in light of efforts by international actors to create instability.”
Cuba: “We welcome the efforts to implement previous UPR cycles and Lukashenko’s firm resolve to ensure national sovereignty and stability in light of NATO’s aggression and threats.”
Egypt: “We congratulate Belarus in commitments honored and also congratulate them on the invitation made to a number of [UNHRC] mandate-holders as well as improvements to children, women and disability rights.”
Iran: “We appreciate the measures taken by Belarus on the protection and promotion of human rights since the last UPR.”
Kuwait: “We welcome all members of the Belarus delegation and their effort to produce the national report which reflects their commitment to human rights.”
Russia: “We note the complete nature and objectivity of Belarus’ report and the work done by Belarus to uphold all human rights.”