Belarus must end rights violations – UN Watch testimony at UNHRC

 Statement by UN Watch
Agenda Item 4, UNHRC 35th Session
14th June 2017
Delivered by Dina Wyler

UN Watch is alarmed by the human rights situation in Belarus. Today’s report sheds light on Europe’s last authoritarian regime.
Independent media remains restricted. Journalists are intimidated by arbitrary arrests, and beaten by security forces.
In March, peaceful protests were met with a new wave of oppression, underscoring, once more, President Lukashenko’s unwillingness to allow any freedom of expression. Nearly 100 journalists were detained, including human rights activist Aliaksei Loika, who was taken to the hospital after being beaten by riot police.
Given the deteriorating situation, we cannot understand why the EU has partially lifted its sanctions against Belarus.
How can it be that, in 2017, a European country remains completely immune to repeated calls from this council, as in Resolution 32/26 from 2016, to end its ongoing violations?
UN Watch is concerned that future investigations will become increasingly difficult. Requests by the rapporteur to visit go unanswered. The only way for him to monitor the situation on the ground is by consulting with human rights activists and victims.
We would like to ask the Special Rapporteur: As human rights defenders face more and more oppression, and may soon be completely unable to speak out, what steps can you take to ensure a comprehensive overview of the situation on the ground?
What steps can this council take, to ensure that Belarus engages with this body?
Mr. President, when will the government of Belarus begin to consider the human rights of its own citizens?
Thank you, Mr. President.

UN Watch