On December 14–17, a group of Belarusian senior officials from the Ministry of Justice, Prosecutor General’s Office, Center for Legislation and Legal Research under the Presidential Administration, the Central Electoral Commission and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, traveled to Washington D.C. to discuss human rights, best practices in access to justice, as well as wider rule of law issues. The mission was funded and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Belarus, as well as facilitated by representatives of the UNDP’s Rule of Law, Justice, Security and Human Rights Team based in New York and specialists from the UNDP office in Belarus.

On December 14–17, a group of Belarusian senior officials from the Ministry of Justice, Prosecutor General’s Office, Center for Legislation and Legal Research under the Presidential Administration, the Central Electoral Commission and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, traveled to Washington D.C. to discuss human rights, best practices in access to justice, as well as wider rule of law issues. The mission was funded and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Belarus, as well as facilitated by representatives of the UNDP’s Rule of Law, Justice, Security and Human Rights Team based in New York and specialists from the UNDP office in Belarus.

Participants discussed implementation of the recommendations received during the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, international human rights standards, exchanged best practices and considered entry points for cooperation under the 2016–2020 United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for Belarus as well as the 2016–2020 UNDP Country Programme document. The sides will follow up with specific proposals for a comprehensive Rule of Law programme, to be implemented in partnership with the government, civil society and international development partners.

The agenda of the mission included meetings at the US Department of Justice, US Supreme Court of Justice, District of Columbia Office for Human Rights, US Department of State, American Bar Association and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. During the meeting with representatives of the American Bar Association (ABA), participants discussed expertise exchange and cooperation under the auspices of the ABA–UNDP International Legal Resource Center. The Center offers an international legal resource capability, identifying candidates capable of providing legal advice, normally on a pro bono basis, for the drafting of legislation, judicial reform, building of legal institutions including professional groups and associations, and other legal dimensions of governance.

The mission was followed by a bilateral meeting of the Working Group for Democracy and Human Rights, attended by senior representatives of the Belarusian Government and US Department of State.