Massive crackdown on civil society and human rights require Council’s resolute action

Statement at the 49th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Interactive Dialogue on the OHCHR report on the situation of human rights in Belarus in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election and in its aftermath

Delivered by Nicola Paccamiccio

Thank you Mr. President,

We welcome the report of the High Commissioner and share the concerns over the complete lack of accountability for perpetrators of human rights violations, including the detention of thousands of people which could amount to crimes against humanity.

In previous updates to the Council we expressed concerns over the targeting of protesters, detention and judicial persecution of human rights defenders and the prosecution of journalists.

The human rights situation continues to deteriorate. The Belarusian authorities continue to retaliate against human rights groups and the work they do.

Human rights defenders and their families are subjected to intrusive searches, arbitrary detentions and are held in inhumane conditions. Human rights defender Ales Bialiatski, Chair of the human rights group Viasna, several of his colleagues and hundreds of other human rights defenders are still detained.

More than 32 lawyers representing protesters, human rights defenders and members of the political opposition who are detained have had their licenses revoked by the authorities. In addition, lawyers are subjected to intrusive searches and other forms of harassment.

More than 300 civil society groups have been affected by liquidation procedures initiated by the government. In October 2021, the Supreme Court acceded to the demands of the Ministry of Justice to close down Belarus’ oldest human rights organisation – Belarusian Helsinki Committee.

Hundreds of journalists have been arbitrarily detained under trumped up charges and key media outlets, including the Belarusian Association of Journalists, which has been promoting the rights of journalists and media rights for 25 years, have been dissolved.  

Given the relentless deterioration of the human rights situation in the country and the lack of any efforts made by the authorities to hold perpetrators into account, we call on the members of the Human Rights Council to support and adopt a strong resolution on the human rights situation in Belarus which can further investigate violations with a view to holding perpetrators to account.

Thank you.

 Civic space in Belarus is rated as closed by the CIVICUS Monitor 


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