Item 4 -Interactive dialogue on the interim oral update of the High Commissioner on the situation of human rights in Belarus in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election and in its aftermath (NB8 Estonia 23.09.2022)


Interactive Dialogue on the interim oral update of OHCHR on the situation of human rights in Belarus

Statement delivered by Estonia, on behalf of also Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden

By the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, Mr. URMAS REINSALU

23 September 2022

Mr. President,

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country Estonia.

We thank the OHCHR for the oral update on Belarus.

The human rights situation in Belarus is appalling. As we speak, the authorities continue imprisoning and torturing persons for exercising their human rights, including their right to freedom of expression. There are currently more than 1300 political prisoners behind bars. Foreign diplomats are systematically harassed for attempting to attend sham trials of political prisoners. This month the Chargé d'affaires of the EU Delegation to Minsk was detained in a blatant violation of international law.

The authorities have developed a widespread system of repression. We support all international initiatives to hold perpetrators of human rights violations to account. We urge the Belarusian authorities to release immediately and unconditionally all arbitrarily detained persons, including political prisoners, journalists and media workers.

Since the falsified elections 2 years ago, we observe in Belarus a steady departure from the rule of law. We are deeply worried by the widened scope of application of capital punishment, and we repeat the call to promptly introduce a moratorium on all executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.

We strongly condemn Belarus’ illegal involvement in Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine and the human rights violations against Ukrainian people.

Madam Acting High Commissioner,

Which steps should we take to improve the exchange of information when human rights are violated evermore vigorously?

I thank you.