June 12, 2007 -- A United Nations official says Belarus has failed to reverse the decline in human rights in the country, despite the recent release of several political prisoners.
Adrian Severin, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Belarus, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today there has not been "real change in the trend in the country."
Severin said "systematic" rights violations continue to take place in Belarus. He criticized what he said was the excessive use of force by Belarusian police, the lack of independence of the legal system, and "totally disproportionate" punishments imposed on convicted criminals.
The UN representative also pointed out Belarus is the last country in Europe to apply the death penalty.