Visiting Professor Miklos Haraszti, appointed in November 2012 as the U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Belarus (http://planet.ceu.hu/node/157), delivered his first regular report to the U.N. Human Rights Council on June 4 in Geneva (see http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session...).
Haraszti says that despite being denied access to Belarus, he reviewed a broad range of human rights concerns by meeting in neighboring countries with many Belarusian experts, NGOs, victims of violations, and diplomats.
His report addresses issues including the death penalty; enforced disappearances; arbitrary arrests and detentions; harassment of imprisoned political opponents and human rights defenders; conditions in detention facilities; the use of torture and other cruel treatment; discrimination; restrictions on the freedom of expression and opinion; and infringements on the independence of the judiciary.
Representatives of 38 countries participated in the discussion. Later, the 46-member Human Rights Council voted to extend Haraszti’s mandate for another year. Citing the extension resolution, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule urged the Belarusian authorities to cooperate fully.