UN chief of law calls for an end to “systematic repression” in Belarus

The UN human rights chief on Friday urged Belarus to end its “systematic repression” of critics and immediately release those being held on political grounds, saying some violations could amount to crimes against humanity.

Volker Türk’s comments came as his office released a new report documenting violations of international law such as unlawful killings, torture, sexual violence and deprivation of the right to freedom of expression and association. The report is based on interviews with more than 200 victims and witnesses and other sources.

“Our report paints an unacceptable picture of impunity and the near-total destruction of civil space and fundamental freedoms in Belarus,” Türk said in a statement, calling on the Minsk government to “end this mass repression” and conduct impartial investigations to ensure accountability.

Critics say the crackdown is ongoing, and human rights defenders in Belarus sounded the alarm on Tuesday over a new crackdown on dissidents by the authoritarian government that has seen over 100 people arrested in a week.

According to Viasna, Belarus’ oldest and most prominent rights group, the authorities targeted opposition activists, journalists, medical workers, members of sport shooting clubs and people who work with drones.


The UN human rights chief called for an end to his “systematic repression” in Belarus.


The UN report pointed to the beatings against thousands of peaceful protesters in August 2020 – the biggest demonstrations ever in the country – after a hotly contested election that won authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko another term.

It bemoaned more than a dozen legislative changes passed over the past two years targeting political activists and opponents, and said nearly 1,500 people are currently being held on “politically motivated charges”. Nearly 800 non-governmental groups had been shut down as of last month, the report said.

A Belarusian court on Friday sentenced the editor-in-chief and chief director of Tut.By – the country’s leading independent news website until authorities shut it down last year – to 12 years in prison for violating national security and inciting hatred. Another court sentenced two independent political analysts to 10 years in prison after being found guilty on similar charges.

The conviction of the two Tut.By journalists is “the regime’s latest attempt to kill honest journalism in Belarus,” said exiled opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

Lukashenko, a longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin who backed the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has ruled the former Soviet country since 1994.

Source : www.foxnews.com

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