Belarus: Focus on Human Rights

Promoting human rights as a shared value is one of the core goals of the UN in the world and Belarus.

As part of its human rights work, the United Nations in Belarus seeks to facilitate Belarus' engagement with the United Nations human rights mechanisms and to help implement human rights standards and recommendations. The UN in Belarus also promotes national dialogue on human rights, bringing together governmental and civil society actors.

Human Rights Protection is a Fundamental Goal of the UN

What Are Human Rights?

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status.

Promoting and protecting human rights is one of the United Nation’s fundamental goals.

What does the United Nations do to promote and protect human rights?

The UN works with governments, civil society, and the private sector around the world to support human development priorities. UN programmes are based on the principle of national ownership, which means that we plan our work together with our local partners.   

UN programmes promote a human rights-based approach that ensures the participation and inclusion of all segments of society in the development process. In this sense, the role of the UN is to remind authorities of their human rights obligations. The UN also helps develop the human rights capacity of various organisations and civil society groups, thus helping both sides work together towards fulfilling country obligations. The primary responsibility for protecting human rights in each country lies with the authorities of that country.

The UN supports the work of human rights activists who work individually or together to protect and promote human rights. The UN also supports national partners and non-governmental organisations working in the field of human rights and helps build communities and alliances to advance human rights. In addition, the UN conducts awareness-raising and education campaigns on human rights.

What is the UN doing to improve the human rights situation in Belarus?

In September 2020, the UN Human Rights Council initiated urgent debates, while the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) constantly reminds the Belarusian authorities of their human rights obligations. The UN, also represented by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, has called on the Belarusian authorities to:

  • Release all those detained for exercising their human rights.
  • Respect the right of peaceful assembly.
  • Cease the violent dispersal of peaceful assemblies.
  • Cease torture and other forms of ill-treatment.
  • Investigate all cases of human rights violations.

UN representatives in Belarus met with the Belarusian authorities and called on the latter to allow the people of Belarus to freely exercise their human rights. The UN in Belarus also provides support to national partners and non-governmental organisations working to protect human rights and address the consequences of violence.

What are the human rights protection mechanisms at the UN?

10 human rights treaty bodies monitor the implementation of the core international human rights treaties and conventions by the countries who have ratified them. Belarus recognises the competence of 2 treaty bodies. Complaints of rights violations can be lodged with these bodies:

Human Rights Committee

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women  

All human rights violations can also be referred to the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.

The UN engages with governments on an ongoing basis, e.g., through the Universal Periodic Review procedure (more on Belarus' report in November 2020 here), and monitors the situation carefully in those countries where alleged human rights violations are committed.

UN statements and procedures initiated concerning the situation in Belarus:

Belarus: UN chief deeply concerned over use of force against peaceful protesters

Statement by Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the 46th session of the Human Rights Council

Statement by Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, on the situation in Belarus

Belarus: UN experts decry threats against women human rights defenders

Belarus crisis under the spotlight at Human Rights Council

UN human rights experts: Belarus must release opposition leader Maria Kalesnikava

UN human rights experts: Belarus must stop torturing protesters and prevent enforced disappearances

The UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus calls on authorities to take immediate measures to prevent any instances of torture or other ill-treatment in detention

Belarus: UN experts call for probe into violence against protesters

Belarus: Crackdown on human rights defenders deepens – expert

Belarus must end pattern of police brutality and impunity: UN experts

The Human Rights Council to hold an emergency debate on Belarus

UN Resident Coordinator meets Deputy Minister of Interior of the Republic of Belarus

Read more about human rights on our website and social media:

Digital rights

Human Rights as an Effective Tool to Combat COVID-19

Human rights and COVID-19

Persons Deprived of their Liberty During COVID-19

Right to Information

Right to health

Right to liberty and security of person

Freedom of movement

Freedom of assembly

Public monitoring of detention facilities

Does deprivation of liberty solve the problem of crime and how to help those who are released: A study of the situation in Belarus

People with Disabilities during COVID-19




UN entities involved in this initiative
International Organization for Migration
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Health Organization