Ulkoministeriö / Utrikesministeriet

MFA: Finland and 16 other participating States of OSCE commission an independent expert report on human rights violations in Belarus

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On 17 September 2020, 17 participating States of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) decided to commission a report on serious human rights violations related to the presidential election in Belarus. Finland is one of the countries that took part in the decision.

The work on the report will take place under the Moscow Mechanism of OSCE. The Moscow Mechanism can be used to commission reports on human rights violations in the participating States of OSCE.

“As a participating State of OSCE, Belarus is obliged to comply with the organisation’s human rights principles. Finland considers an investigation of the human rights violations reported in Belarus as most important. The Moscow Mechanism gives the opportunity to commission an independent expert report on the situation. Based on the report, we can discuss the human rights situation in the country with Belarus, especially the incidences of violence after the presidential election,” Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto says.

The report to be compiled will focus on the human rights violations reported before, during and after the presidential election in Belarus held on 9 August 2020. Conclusions and recommendations for measures will be included in the report. Allegations will be examined concerning the persecution of political opponents, electoral fraud, illegal arrests, and disproportionate use of violence against peaceful demonstrators. Belarus will have the opportunity to comment on the report.

The work will get started at the end of September and the report should be ready to be published in the beginning of November.

Besides Finland, the countries participating in triggering the Moscow Mechanism are the UK, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the United States. In addition, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Luxemburg have announced their support for triggering the Moscow mechanism. 

Background

The Moscow Mechanism is a tool that strengthens the human dimension of OSCE. The human dimension covers the promotion of democracy and development of the rule of law as well as the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Before this, the Moscow Mechanism has been used seven times between 1992 and 2018.

The last time Finland participated in the use of the mechanism was in 2018 in connection with the human rights situation of sexual minorities in Chechnya.

The Moscow Mechanism can be triggered by a participating State of OSCE which considers that another participating State has blatantly violated against the obligations of OSCE’s human rights dimension. The support of nine other participating States is needed to trigger the Moscow Mechanism.

The Moscow Mechanism could also be used on a voluntary basis, in which case a participating State would invite three experts to conduct an assessment e.g. on alleged human rights violations.

Inquiries:
Tarja Kangaskorte, Director, Unit for Human Rights Policy, Political Department, tel. +358 295 350 292
Mari Mäkinen, Desk Officer, Unit for Human Rights Policy, Political Department, tel. +358 295 350 130

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname@formin.fi.

Read more about OSCE

Read more about the Moscow Mechanism at OSCE’s website

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