Reply to Recommendation
| Doc. 14446
| 30 November 2017
- Committee of Ministers
- Adopted at the 1301st meeting
of the Ministers’ Deputies (29 November 2017). 2018 - First part-session
- Reply to Recommendation
- : Recommendation 2107
2 The Committee welcomes the enhanced dialogue engaged by the
Belarusian authorities with the Council of Europe over recent years
and reiterates that its strategic objective remains the integration
of Belarus into the Council of Europe, on the basis of the Organisation’s
values and principles, pursuant to the Declaration of the May 2005
3 As the Committee has indicated several times, a major step
to enable Belarus to move closer to these values would be to abolish
the death penalty in the country. From this point of view, the Committee
of Ministers can therefore only deplore the fact that the Belarusian
authorities continue to carry out death sentences and urges these
authorities to commute all death sentences issued by the courts.
It reiterates its call to Belarus to establish without delay a formal
moratorium on executions as a first step towards the abolition of
the death penalty.
4 With regard to the Parliamentary Assembly’s concerns with
respect to the human rights situation in Belarus, the Committee
of Ministers calls on the Belarusian authorities to comply with
their international human rights commitments in this domain, in
particular concerning freedom of expression, freedom of assembly,
the right to liberty and security and the right to a fair trial.
The Committee is concerned about recent incidents, including the
arrests of representatives for Belarusian trade unions and will
follow this process closely. It also urges the Belarusian authorities
to develop a constructive political dialogue with all national stakeholders, including
representatives of civil society and the opposition, with a view
to further democratisation of the country.
5 The Action Plan for Belarus adopted by the Committee of Ministers
in October 2016 seeks to help the country to move towards Council
of Europe standards. It is being implemented in close co-operation
with the Belarusian authorities and civil society representatives.
The Committee of Ministers will shortly consider an interim report
on implementation of the plan, including with regard to the abolition
of the death penalty, to which it attaches particular importance.
The Committee points out that Belarus is currently a Contracting
Party to ten Council of Europe treatiesNote
a member of four Partial Agreements.Note
Plan includes activities aimed at raising the Belarusian authorities’
awareness of other Council of Europe conventions to encourage the
country’s future accession to them. This is the case in particular
of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard
to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (ETS No. 108), the Convention
on Cybercrime (Budapest Convention, ETS No. 185) and the Convention
on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds
from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism (CETS No. 198).
7 The Committee of Ministers is willing to assist Belarus bringing
its legislation in line with Council of Europe standards with a
view to paving the way to its accession to Council of Europe instruments
open to non-member States in accordance with applicable rules.
Belarus also takes part in a number of intergovernmental committeesNote
are allowed to hold events in Belarus to help promote Council of
Europe standards, subject to the relevant rules and in compliance
with their respective terms of reference.
9 The Committee of Ministers points out that the Council of
Europe information point (InfoPoint) in Minsk facilitates communication
and co-ordination with the national authorities and other stakeholders
in implementing the Action Plan for Belarus. The Committee of Ministers,
in co-ordination with the Belarusian authorities, could consider
setting up a Council of Europe programme office in Minsk subject
to further development of the relations with the country. In this
context, the Committee of Ministers will take into consideration
any possible steps that might be taken by the Parliamentary Assembly
towards restoring special guest status for the Parliament of Belarus.