View Adopted: 2021.03.25
The authors are nationals of Belarus, who claim that the State Party has violated their rights under articles 19 and 21, read in conjunction with article 2 (2-3) of the Covenant.
On 4 December 2014, the author's application seeking authorization of the Gomel City Executive Committee to hold a peaceful gathering (on Human Rights Day, expressing support for political prisoners) was rejected. The reasons were first, using the location was prohibited on the basis of domestic law (the Public Events Act of 1997) and second, failure to submit the contracts with the city service providers to ensure medical service and cleaning. 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. The claims under articles 19 and 21, read with article 2 (3) are unsubstantiated. The claims under articles 19 (2) and 21 are admissible, owing to sufficient evidence.
The Committee determined whether the prohibition imposed on the authors for holding peaceful assemblies amounts to a violation of article 19 of the Covenant and concluded that the prohibition does not meet the standards of necessity and proportionality. Conclusively, the rights of the authors under article 19 have been violated. Further, the Committee considered whether restrictions imposed justify the requirements of legality, necessity and proportionality under article 21. It noted that the State party failed to present sufficient evidence. Hence, the State Party violated article 21.
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, 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.
By Aakrishti Kumar