We welcome the opportunity for dialogue on this issue today and thank our co-organisers for the initiative.
Belarusian authorities continue to violate human rights on a daily basis.
However, today we are highlighting the government's targeting of journalists, bloggers, and other media workers. Particularly as part of a larger campaign of harassment and intimidation observed since August.
There can be no free society without free media.
The Belarusian government's detention, deportation, and harassment of journalists is an attempt to make it impossible for them to carry out their vital mission.
Today we have heard credible, first-hand, accounts of the deplorable conditions of media workers in Belarus.
No denials from the government can stand up to the mass of evidence presented today and in reports coming out of the country.
The government's approach is leading Belarus down aroad of further division and confrontation.
We call on the authorities to stop the harassment of journalists and other media workers and to release those who have been detained.
It is time for the Belarusian government to live up to its international obligations and protect the rights of all its citizens, including its journalists.
We encourage Belarus to show its commitment to these obligations through engaging, and following up on, the recommendations of the Benedek report. And to bring to justice all perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses.