Envoy Miklos Haraszti says Belarus has no effective voice of dissent

Nov. 1, 2013 at 11:15 AM

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Belarus has no political opposition to challenge the authority of its administration and human rights have been systematically curtailed, a U.N. official said.

Every election since 1991, when Belarus gained independence from Russia, has left the political system with fewer voices of criticism, Miklos Haraszti, U.N. special envoy to the country, said this week .

"This has resulted in a Legislature that lost all its power to the administration and functioned for the past fifteen years with the participation of pro-government formations only, whether political parties have or not boycotted the vote in protest at the violation of their rights," he said.

Haraszti said human rights have been systematically curtailed in Belarus.

The envoy said everything from citizens rights to the rights of candidate registration should be improved for the sake of restoring basic freedoms in Belarus.

Human rights groups have been critical of the government in Belarus, which has been accused of silencing its critics.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation said there was a general lack of political freedom in Belarus.

Several opponents of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko were imprisoned following December 2010 elections.

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