International

Joint statement on Belarus to UN Human Rights Council

We joined international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for a session on the independent international fact-finding mission on Belarus at the 48th session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council.

What's the issue

We're concerned that the human rights situation in Belarus has deteriorated since the UN Human Rights Council instructed the Office of the UN High Commissioner (OHCHR) examination.

Persecution and repression of legal professionals, journalists, human rights defenders and political opponents is ongoing.

The Belarusian authorities continue to use unfounded criminal proceedings. At least 23 lawyers have been disbarred since 2020 and 28 journalists are currently detained.

More than 200 NGOs and media organisations have been, or are in the process of being, shut down.

We condemn the recent sentencing of opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova and lawyer Maxim Znak to 11 and 10 years imprisonment respectively, following a closed-door trial.

We're also deeply concerned by recent reports that death row prisoner Viktar Skrundzik has been executed.

What we've asked for

We call on the UN Human Rights Council to:

  • fully support the OHCHR examination and the special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Belarus
  • provide adequate funding and resources to the OHCHR examination
  • operationalise the OHCHR examination without further delay
  • urge Belarus to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty with a view to abolition

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