For the first time in 12 years, the official authorities of Belarus hosted a UN Special Rapporteur in the country

Human Constanta
27 July 2022

In early July, it was reported that the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Felip Gonzalez Morales, would visit Poland and Belarus between 12 and 25 July 2022. The focus of his visit was the situation with migrants on the border of the two countries.

It should be noted that visits of special rapporteurs to the country are possible only at the invitation of the official authorities of the state. The last visit of the Special Rapporteurs to Belarus took place in 2009 (Special Rapporteur on the issue of human trafficking).

After that, Belarus refused visits for a number of special procedures:

  • Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders,
  • Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression,
  • Special Rapporteur on torture,
  • Special Rapporteur on Belarus,
  • Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly,
  • Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

Therefore, the visit of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants is a positive step. However, there are concerns about how realistic the information was the Special Rapporteur received during the visit. All meetings of the speaker were held under the control and with the approval of the state. To our knowledge, no independent organization or expert has received an invitation to the meeting.

Without being invited to a meeting with the speaker, Human Constanta prepared a written report on the problems faced by migrants, namely: problems with access to medical, humanitarian, legal assistance, obstacles to access to international protection, threats, humiliating treatment from the border guards of Belarus, threats of deportation to countries where they are in danger. The situation with the human rights of migrants is also affected by the general legal default in the country.

We hope that the Special Rapporteur’s report will be objective and comprehensive.

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