Item 4: Interactive dialogue on the OHCHR report on the situation of human rights in Belarus in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election and in its aftermath
Statement delivered by the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs H. E. Dr. Mantas Adomėnas
22 March 2023
Thank you, Mr. President,
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries.
As reported by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the human rights situation in Belarus continuously deteriorates. Politically motivated persecutions, reprisals, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture remain endemic, while the justice system is abused to silence dissent and systematically oppress pro-democratic forces. By allowing Russia to use its territory for aggression against Ukraine, the leadership of Belarus is responsible for the act of aggression.
Currently there are about 1 500 political prisoners in Belarus; the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ales Bialiatski among them. They are forced to wear identifying tags, subjected to violence and torture, and not provided with timely medical aid or legal counsel. Meanwhile, lawyers defending political prisoners are deprived of their licences. We strongly condemn the politically motivated prison sentences of human rights defenders, political opponents and representatives of the Belarusian democratic opposition in exile. We stand in solidarity with political prisoners in Belarus and call for their immediate, unconditional release. International community must ensure accountability of the Belarusian authorities for the violations of international law and international human rights law in order to end impunity and prevent further crimes.
Mr. High Commissioner,
What more could the international community do to protect political prisoners, journalists, media workers and human rights defenders persecuted by the Belarusian authorities?