IV. Human rights concerns

C.      Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

47.     The Special Rapporteur reiterates that as Belarus moves towards the next presidential election in 2015, it is worrying that none of the previously alleged cases of torture of political candidates, activists and human rights defenders while in detention has been clarified by the authorities. These cases include allegations of torture and ill-treatment of the 2010 presidential candidates Andrei Sannikau, after his arrest on 19 December 2010, and Ales Mikhalevich, at the high security prison in January 2011 (A/69/307, para. 71). Another case is that of Ihar Tsikhanyuk from the human rights organization Lambda, which protects the rights of LGBTI persons. In 2012, Mr. Tsikhanyuk was reportedly taken to a police station where he was punched, abused and threatened with violence.   To date, there has been no investigation into these cases or attempts to bring those responsible to justice.

P.       Discrimination

4.       LGBTI persons

123.   Although same-sex relationships are not illegal in Belarus, homophobic discourse is widespread, including in the media. There is no law to protect sexual minorities from discrimination, and homophobic violence is not considered a hate-based crime, even though cases of harassment, discrimination and attacks against LGBTI persons are frequent (A/69/307, para. 84). In May 2014, a young man was attacked while leaving a gay club in Minsk. As a result of the assault, he spent a month in a coma and suffered irreversible injuries. The court convicted the assailant for involuntary homicide to two years and eight months and refused to consider any circumstances of hate crime based on sexual orientation, even though witnesses testified to the homophobic intent of the perpetrator.{{79}}

124.   The Special Rapporteur remains concerned about the particular challenges facing LGBTI defenders, who suffer double discrimination and are frequent targets of violence and abuse, including by law enforcement authorities (A/69/307, para. 84).

Link to full text of the report: Report-SRBelarus-2015-eng

[[79]]79. Civic Belarus, “Belarusian Court refuses to admit homophobia”, 15 January 2015. [[79]]

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