Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 214

The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Commission has just released a report on Belarus, which is based on material submitted by the Belarusan government and by human rights monitors. The commission found a "substantial deterioration of the situation" since its preceding assessment (1992). It ascertained, inter alia: concentration of legislative powers in the hands of the executive branch; presidential control over the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, and the judiciary in general; lack of independence of the legal profession as a result of obligatory licensing of lawyers by the government; unlawful use of wiretapping and house searches; maltreatment of peaceful demonstrators by the police; arbitrary extension of pre-trial detention; state control of almost all media outlets, severe pressure on independent publications, and intimidation of local and foreign journalists; closure of the offices of some NGOs, and harassment of human rights monitors. (Belapan, November 10)

The report forms part of regular monitoring of countries’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. No other post-Soviet country has rated a comparably negative assessment. The commission is empowered only to make nonbinding recommendations for the four-year interval until the next review.

Moldova’s Governing Party Disintegrates.