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Miklos Haraszti
The new UN special rapporteur on human rights in Belarus has called on the authorities and civil society to engage in an open dialogue aimed at the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.

Speaking as he assumed his position on November 1, Miklos Haraszti said, "I would like to invite the Belarusian authorities, state institutions, and civil society to enter into an open dialogue with me on human rights issues confronting the country."

Haraszti said that human rights experts will meet with the Belarusian government to discuss ways to exchange information.

He added, "I hope to assist the government and people of Belarus in improving the human rights situation in the country in line with international human rights norms."
Jailed Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh started a hunger strike in the same prison last week after prison authorities banned her relatives from visiting.
Nine female political prisoners have started a hunger strike to protest their conditions in Tehran's Evin prison.

The Iranian website Kaleme.org reports that the women stopped eating after they were beaten and insulted by guards.

Jailed Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh started a hunger strike in the same prison last week after prison authorities banned her relatives from visiting.

Sotoudeh began serving a six-year jail term in 2010.

A European Union delegation canceled its visit to Tehran last week after Iranian authorities rejected its request to meet Sotoudeh and the jailed filmmaker, Jafar Panahi.

The European Parliament awarded Sotoudeh and Panahi the 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought last month.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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