Mar 7, 2007
From RFE/RL: Natallya Pyatkevich, deputy head of Belarus's presidential administration, told journalists on March 5 that the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance is not "topical" for Belarus. "This convention is not topical for Belarus, it has the same degree of importance for us as ozone layer protection or the protection of those starving. We have no such problem," Pyatkevich said. Adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 20, 2006, the convention requires signatory states to take necessary steps to prevent and combat forced disappearances; introduces a ban on secret prisons; and calls for informing families about the fate of their disappeared members. Belarusian opposition politicians Yury Zakharanka and Viktar Hanchar, businessman Anatol Krasouski, and journalist Dzmitry Zavadski went missing under unexplained circumstances in Belarus in 1999 and 2000. Many in Belarus and Europe believe that they were abducted and murdered because of theiropposition to the regime of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.