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The Leader of Europe's 'Last Dictatorship' Is Facing an Unprecedented Challenge. Here's What It Could Mean for Belarus

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Europe’s longest serving leader Alexander Lukashenko has long worked hard to seem invincible. He has dominated past elections that the U.S. has deemed neither free nor fair and brokered no dissent and suppressed protests. Now, he is facing an unprecedented challenge as he runs for a sixth term as president of Belarus in elections on August 9. A former teacher and political novice, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, has emerged as his main rival, pledging to topple Lukashenko’s regime and restore democracy.
Tens of thousands have rallied across Belarus in some of the country’s biggest opposition protests in a decade, amid mounting frustration over the government’s mishandling of the COVID-19 crisis, combined with grievances about the economy. Referring to Lukashenko, protestors chanted ‘stop the cockroach’ and held placards reading ‘change!’.
“For the first time in his 26-year rule, Lukashenko knows the majority don’t support him,” says Aleksandr Feduta, a former aide to the incumbent, who was i…

Argentina definitively abolishes the death penalty

The country has ratified the UN's Second Optional Protocol, which makes it impossible to reinstate the death penalty. The World Coalition is currently campaigning in favour of that international treaty.

On September 2, Argentina ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. The country had signed the treaty in December 2006 (photo). The ratification means that Argentina is unreservedly committed to abolishing the death penalty in a total and definitive manner for all crimes.

The country was already a good way on the road to abolition as it had got rid of capital punishment for common crimes and article 18 of its constitution states the "total abolition of the death penalty for political reasons." Last August, the reform of the Military justice code led to the deletion of all references to the death penalty for military crimes.

Last step

Argentina took the last step by ratifying the Second Optional Protocol. Under a 1994 constitutional amendment, international treaties signed by Argentina are equivalent to constitutional rules.

The ratification of the Protocol therefore enshrines the complete and irreversible abolition of the death penalty into Argentina's constitution and expresses the country's will to make capital punishment illegal on its soil.

After the Second Optional Protocol, Argentina ratified a treaty aiming at abolishing the death penalty at the regional level on September 5. It had signed that Organisation of American States-sponsored treaty in December 2006 too.

Argentina is now a state party to every regional human rights treaty in America. Those ratifications give a boost to efforts for the abolition of the death penalty on a continent where many states remain retentionist, especially in the Caribbean.

(source: World Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty)

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