Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт

Human rights defenders offer expert assistance to CEC

Press-conference of the coordinators of "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections"
Press-conference of the coordinators of "Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections"

Representatives of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders For Free Election”, co-run by the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, have written to the CEC head Lidziya Yarmoshyna, offering their assistance in the work of an expert group formed to review the OSCE ODIHR recommendations on improving the electoral process in Belarus.

The human rights defenders say the campaign’s expertise and achievements could be used in amending the electoral law. They also sent their final analytical report on the 2015 presidential campaign, which contains a number of recommendations for improving the practice of holding elections in the country.

The BHC and Viasna representatives count on the CEC’s interest, although say with regret that to date the electoral authorities have avoided any dialogue with the independent observers.

We have repeatedly pointed out that the development of changes in the practice of law or amendments to the legislation should involve independent observers, as well as the actors of the electoral process. There can be no private discussion without the participation of stakeholders, which include public associations and political parties,” says the campaign’s co-coordinator Uladzimir Labkovich.

Unfortunately, we do not often meet with the CEC members, although we have been monitoring elections since 2008 within the framework of “Human Rights Defenders For Free Elections”, and before that, along with the BHC, we had observed as part of other coalitions. We last met with Yarmoshyna and CEC members in 2001 to discuss various aspects of the electoral process and election monitoring,” says his colleague Valiantsin Stefanovich.

The campaign’s experts note that their recommendations have been reflected in the final reports of the OSCE ODIHR mission during election campaigns over the years.

An interdepartmental expert working group to review the OSCE ODIHR recommendations on the improvement of the electoral process was established by the Central Election Commission on February 12. The first meeting of the group, which is tasked to analyze the recommendations and to develop proposals to improve the electoral process, took place on February 16.