A delegation of the Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) carried out an evaluation visit to Belarus from 28 September to 1 October 2021 as part of the second evaluation round of the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. The visit provided an opportunity to assess progress in the implementation of the Convention since the first evaluation report by GRETA published in 2017. Prior to the visit, the Belarusian authorities provided a reply to GRETA’s questionnaire for the second evaluation round.
During the visit, the GRETA delegation held consultations with Mr Hennadz Kazakevich, Deputy Minister of the Interior, as well as officials from the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the State Border Committee, the Investigative Committee, the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Supreme Court. In addition, the delegation travelled to Brest where it met representatives of relevant regional and local authorities and law enforcement agencies.
The GRETA delegation held separate meetings with representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), lawyers and victims of human trafficking.
Discussions were also held with representatives of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In addition, the GRETA delegation held an online meeting with Ms Anais Marin, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Belarus.
In the course of the visit, the GRETA delegation visited a specialised shelter for victims of human trafficking in Minsk, run by the IOM, and the crisis room of the territorial centre of social protection in Brest, which can accommodate victims of human trafficking.
The visit was carried out by Ms Ia Dadunashvili and Mr Georgios Vanikiotis, members of GRETA, who were accompanied by Mr Roemer Lemaître of the Secretariat of the Convention.
Following the visit, GRETA will prepare a draft report, which will be sent to the Belarus authorities for comments. GRETA will subsequently adopt a final report to be published in 2022.