View Adopted: 2021.03.25
The authors are nationals of Belarus and claimed that the State Party has violated their rights under articles 19 and 21 read alone and in conjunction with article 2 (2-3). On 8 December 2015, the authorization sought by the authors to hold a picket protesting against the destruction of old bank notes after the currency redenomination planned for 2016 was rejected by the Gomel City Executive Committee. The reasons were first, the location was not among those specified for such conduct and second, failure to submit contracts with the city service providers to ensure medical service and cleaning of the event. Subsequently, the Central District Court rejected the appeal of the authors stating that the decision complied with the domestic law of Belarus. A cassation appeal and further appeals under the supervisory review proceedings were also rejected.
Since the State party was unable to show that requests for supervisory review constitute an effective remedy in the present circumstances, the Committee is not precluded from examining this communication. Regarding claims under article 19 and 21 read with article 2 (2), the Committee stated that the authors have already alleged a violation of their rights under articles 19 and 21. Hence, this part is inadmissible. Due to lack of substantiation, claims under articles 19 and 21, read with article 2 (3) are also inadmissible. The Committee pronounces that the authors’ claims under articles 19 and 21 are sufficiently substantiated and this part of the communication is admissible.
The Committee considered whether restrictions imposed are justified under article 21 of the Covenant. It noted that neither the Executive Committee nor the domestic courts have justified how the authors’ protest violate interests of national security or public safety, public order, protection of health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. Hence, the State Party has violated article 21. Further, the Committee determined whether the prohibition imposed on the authors for holding peaceful assemblies amounts to a violation of article 19 of the Covenant. It concluded that holding a rally to certain predetermined locations does not meet the standards of necessity and proportionality. Conclusively, the rights of the authors under article 19 have been violated.
The State party is under an obligation to provide the authors with an effective remedy, including full reparation to the individuals whose Covenant rights have been violated. Accordingly, the State party is obligated to provide the authors adequate compensation, take necessary steps to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future and revise its normative framework on public events, consistent with its obligation under article 2 (2), with a view to ensuring that the rights under articles 19 and 21 of the Covenant may be fully enjoyed in the State party.
Deadline: 21st September 2021