Thursday, June 21, 2007

UN restrictions lifted...

Andei Popov: "I think the decision of the Council is nothing extraordinary. What was supposed to happen has happened”
The biggest story in the new BEING HAD Times is that the special reporter to the united Nations for Belarus has been relieved of his task and Belarus is now free from this particular issue concerning its human rights activities. This reversal came as a result of the human rights council, a body which replaced last year the human rights commission, removing the necessity to even have reporters on hand except for what is deemed to be extraordinary situations. Several other countries were also removed from the list including Myanmar, Zimbabwe, North Korea and Cuba. The only country that remained on the list was Israel, a decision based upon issues related to the military of the west bank.

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack released a statement that he was unhappy with the decision:

    "Unfortunately, today the President of the Council announced a new rules package making these problems even worse, by terminating the mandates of the UN Rapporteurs on the Governments of Cuba and Belarus, two of the world’s most active perpetrators of serious human rights violations, and singling out Israel as the only country subject to a permanent agenda item,"
On the Belarusian side, Former presidential candidate Sergei Gaidukevich seemed to take the matter in stride and even let us know that it was a farce to have the UN poking their nose into Belarusian business up until now:

    “The Rapporteur worked for six years and what has changed in the time? His reports have not advanced the dialogue between states-members of the Council, between Belarus and Europe. Contrariwise, the reports furthered confrontation”,
He also explained that there will be complete understanding only when Belarus, as a sovereign state, faces no more severe requirements and demands. "Belarus actively and adequately pursues an open policy," He continued, "aimed at expanding the dialogue with all countries, including the European Union."

Andrei Popov seconded the motion that leaving Belarus off of the list of observed countries was nothing special:

    "I think the decision of the Council is nothing extraordinary. What was supposed to happen has happened”, stressed the official representative of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “The decision is totally compliant with the spirit of the UN General Assembly’s resolution ‘Encouraging equal and mutually respective dialogue on human rights’. Belarus was one of the main initiators of the resolution. Let us remind you the resolution stresses the importance of avoiding confrontational approaches and the use of human rights for political ends”.
Belarus has had its issues with the UN for some time. The country has been shunned during the last two summits and it is well known that recently Belarus attempted to gain a seat on the human rights council but was rejected, a particular happinstance which was enthusiastically aplauded in the west and seen as a victory for common sence. Belarus' even attempting to gain the seat was look at as hubris and an insult to the body itself.

I wonder though what this decision really means. Obviously the Belarusian side is enjoying the moment rhetorically speaking. Their stance is as it has been since the beginning: Belarus is a soveriegn nation and free to carry on its internal affairs as it sees fit. Specifically, they have always regarded the UN as a tool of the Americans. Having this "burden" lifted then only allows for one less avenue of attack. One could even go so far as to view this as a moral victory for Belarus. For the west, the results would indeed be seen as a loss. The west "Human Right's issue" has been used as the main argument against even having respect for anything Belarus does.

I find it unlikely that the west will relent in its opinion of Belarus however. A change in business philosophy over the last year has made no impact in political relationships. Inviting European investors has not either. Even changing the private business laws has had no real effect. Belarus is Belarus is the attitude and basically the issue won't change until… well, until either Lukashenko is finished or the country is absorbed into Russia officially. Don’t count on either of these two things happening any time soon.

But in the meantime this is happy news for Belarusians. To this country, the news is being taken as a nod of approval and a step in the direction of acceptance. They know that this is not really the truth. They know that the EU has also decided to tighten trade status this week as well, a move that will cost Belarus up to a half billion dollars a year and could be seen as a punishment for this freedom. But in any case it is nice to get a little positive feedback now and again, no matter how tainted it might be.

Yes people, it is very hard to be in Belarus. Hard from the inside and hard from the outside as well. So I say there should be a party to celebrate our new UN status as a less-than-dangerous place human rights-wise and after, well, this is belarus so basically speaking we should all get back to work; there is still a lot to do. Most probably though no matter how nice the party is, tomorrow will look an awful lot like today. In any case, though there I one less thing to worry about and this is a very good thing.

More soon…


Blogger Mary Ellen said...

Well, I say any victory, no matter how small is worth celebrating. Where's the Champagne? Vodka?

Friday, June 22, 2007  
Blogger James said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Friday, June 22, 2007  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...


if adam says there is going to be a party to celebrate, I'm there.

i have no idea who Robert Mugabe is and to be honest, haven't a clue as to what to think of this.

i read the post on your site...can't make heads or tails out of it, maybe i just need to drink some vodka and everything will become clearer.

i'll stick to the other threads...and leave the politics to you and adam.

have a nice evening...or morning.

Friday, June 22, 2007  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

Now, now ME…

First of all the UN decision will have exactly zero impact on the general population. There will be no national party and I was being mildly facetious there.

But I'd like to answer James very well written article on three points.

1. Lukashenka is the president of Belarus. He does represent stability and adherence to socialist principals to people here and is believed to be probably the one man in the whole country who can maintain that stability regardless of foreign intrigues and pressures. He was elected by a great majority of the population. He does represent politically the will of the vast majority of the population and people here like him. Conversely, the opposition is not seen as representing the will of the working population or the pensioners (as evidenced by Milinkevich's dismissal) and not even all the students or the young people are against him. I might have an article about this specifically coming up within the next week.
2. Forget the word subsidies. There was a simple partnership between Belarus and Russia which got dissolved when Russia decided to simply take the profits out of Belarus' refining business. Those refineries were in place from the time of the Soviet Union, the process of sending oil to Belarus to be refined had always been in place, and this was one of the primary sources of income for the country. The issue was more akin to a wholesaler deciding to sell to their clients at retail prices than a subsidy, this word came into use to defend Russia's action as it would be seen to the west as a normal business action and would put the blame on Belarus. The word is a slander because it implies that Belarus received something for nothing which was never the case.
3. Working for the profits of outsiders is the last thing in the world Belarusians give a damn about. That there is a massive difference in wages between here and Europe is the single most understood thing in the whole country. However, the second most understood fact is that allowing Belarus to be exploited because of the cost difference means nothing but that profits leave the country leaving nothing but underpaid wage slaves behind. If Lukashenka remains popular, AND HE IS, it is because he has made sure that Belarus gets those fees, taxes and percentages and that this money does stay in the country. There are in fact quite a few foreign investors and private companies in Belarus and I would suspect that one thing that they have in common is that they are all legitimate and willing to follow the rules. I invite you to cruise around the internet and find reports of ripoffs. My guess is that you will find a lot of this in Ukraine, a lot in Russia but very little in Belarus. Why? Because it is strict here and frankly, the people of Belarus seem to like it that way.

Yes it is hard here James. Yes people would like to have more money. No it is not like it was socially during the Soviet Union and people are not the same as they were. But almost universally Belarusians will agree that this is home, this is normal and life outside of her simply doesn't feel right. This is not nostalgia it is a realist fact and because this is so, Belarus is not looking for the west to be its salvation, just a righteous and fair business partner.

Or in other words, if you are looking for a cheap place to get you ass kissed, try Poland and leave Belarus alone.

Friday, June 22, 2007  
Anonymous Steve R said...

I am also starting to think that there has been enough banging on Belarus. What is to gain already? Russia is making money right and left and at the same time they are threatening to start shooting rockets at their customers. Don't we have bigger problems than fighting this tired fight with Belarus? Let them live as they like already.

Friday, June 22, 2007  
Blogger James said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Friday, June 22, 2007  
Blogger BEING HAD said...

James, I am not ignoring your comment, I just have to do some gardening right now and the bus is leaving in 15 minutes. I will answer your well written (as usual) article/comment this evening, probably by early Sunday afternoon your time.

Sunday, June 24, 2007  

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