On July 17 2018, in the context of the fifth round of human rights dialogue between the European Union and the Republic of Belarus, the Belarusian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) released a statement on the progress of the Interagency Plan on Implementation of Recommendations accepted by Belarus following the second cycle of the United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review. The document provides recommendations addressed to Belarus by Human Rights Treaty Bodies for 2016-2019.
Our members believe that the potential of the Interagency Plan is not fully used, in particular, due to lack of involvement of the civil society organizations in its implementation. Up to the present time there is a number of unresolved problems that prevent the Plan from becoming a genuinely effective tool for improving the situation with human rights:
- There are still not created platforms for discussion of current problems in the field of human rights operating in a predictable manner with the participation of competent representatives from relevant state bodies and civil society organizations;
- The state bodies responsible for implementation of specific activities within the Interagency Plan have failed to develop detailed implementation plans, at least, such plans are not known to the civil society;
- The current system of attracting non-state resources for human rights activities creates serious obstacles to the effective use of the potential. During the existence of the Interagency Plan, single substantive events were held with the participation of representatives of civil society organizations.
To improve the efficiency of the Interagency Plan and transparency on its implementation the civil society organizations of Belarus put forward the following recommendations:
- To organize platforms operating in predictable manner (for example, quarterly consultation meetings) under the relevant state bodies responsible for implementation of specific activities of the Plan to discuss its implementation with the civil society and to develop proposals on filling events with specific content;
- To involve civil society experts in the preparation of analytical materials on the basis of which measures will be developed to improve legislation and practice in the field of human rights, in particular, the analytical reports provided for under the plan.
- To develop agency plans of implementation by state bodies’ officials responsible for implementation of specific activities of the Plan, while using the indicators proposed by the human rights defenders;
- To conduct, together with civil society organizations, analysis of recommendations from UN Treaty bodies following the adoption of the Interagency Plan and make appropriate adjustments to implementation of these recommendations;
- To invite relevant human rights organizations to human rights related events, without discrimination on the basis of the availability or absence of the state registration;
- For international organizations, including donors, involved in the implementation of the Interagency Plan or its specific measures, to keep in focus the value of involvement of civil society in the process as an important element in enhancing the efficiency of achieving the goals of the Plan.
Eventually, our Belarusian members called authorities to count on civil society organizations to further contribute to increase the efficiency of the Interagency Plan in order to improve the situation with human rights.
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