UN Human Rights Council 49: UK statement for the enhanced interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner on Belarus

Thank you, Mr President.

The United Kingdom welcomes the report by the High Commissioner.

Our discussions take place while the Belarusian regime provides wide-ranging support for Russia’s unprovoked, premeditated and illegal attack against Ukraine. Let me salute the bravery of the people of Belarus participating in anti-war protests.

The picture painted by the 145 interviewees in the OHCHR Examination is bleak. Violations have been committed in all six oblasts of Belarus. There is clear evidence of the use of unnecessary and disproportionate force, with some treatment reaching the threshold of torture. Last month’s constitutional referendum saw a continuation of the regime’s repressive campaign against its own citizens, with arbitrary arrests and a crackdown on legitimate protests.

There are now over 1000 political prisoners in Belarus and at least 37,000 people were arbitrarily arrested and detained between May 2020 and May 2021. Many have no access to proper healthcare and face mistreatment that amounts to torture. Journalists and media workers continue to be persecuted.

These facts make crystal clear the need for continued OHCHR monitoring and reporting on the situation.

Madam High Commissioner,

What more can the international community do to ensure accountability for perpetrators of serious human rights violations taking place in Belarus?

I thank you.

Published 17 March 2022

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