Belarus is a Member State of the United Nations (UN), and has human rights obligations at the universal level. Belarus is not a Member State of the Council of Europe and is not subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights or any other regional human rights body.
United Nations System
As a UN Member State, Belarus is subject to the oversight of various UN human rights bodies, including the Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review and thematic special procedures. In 2012, the Human Rights Council created the mandate of Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus to specifically monitor, report on, and support the country’s progress on human rights. Additionally, as a party to specific universal human rights treaties, Belarus’s policies and practices are monitored by UN treaty bodies. It has accepted the complaints procedure of two treaty bodies.
Belarus has ratified the following UN human rights treaties:
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
- Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
- Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
Belarus has not ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aimed at abolishing the death penalty. Belarus has ratified the optional protocols to the CRC addressing children in armed conflict and the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography. Belarus has a duty to submit State reports to the UN treaty body associated with each UN human rights treaty Belarus has ratified. These reports must be submitted on a periodic basis, and describe the steps Belarus has taken to implement the treaty provisions.
Belarus has also ratified the optional protocols allowing individuals to submit complaints against the State alleging violations of the ICCPR and CEDAW. Additionally, certain UN treaties contain inquiry procedures, which allow the UN treaty body to consider allegations of grave or systematic human rights violations. Belarus has accepted the inquiry procedures of the CAT and CEDAW.
Belarus has not extended a standing invitation to UN special procedures, which means that any such mandate holders must seek a specific invitation from Belarus to conduct a visit within the State. For example, the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, went on a mission to Belarus in May 2009 and published a report in April 2010.
For more information on Belarus’s engagement with UN human rights bodies, visit http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/BYIndex.aspx.
Last updated: January 2020