Item 4 - Interactive dialogue on the High commissioner's report on the situation of human rights in Belarus in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election and in its aftermath. NB8 Sweden (19.03.2024)

Interactive Dialogue on the reporT of the High Commissioner on the situation of human rights in Belarus.

Statement by Sweden on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries.

20 March 2024

Thank you, Mr President,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries.

The deteriorating human rights situation in Belarus has never been worse.

Since the crackdown on peaceful protests in 2020, we have witnessed a relentless, politically motived campaign against  ordinary citizens, with over 1400 political prisoners to date.

A  brutal crackdown against civil society: teachers, lawyers, journalists, factory workers, writers, human rights defenders, and others.

The unprecedented level of repression and intimidation to discourage any participation in democratic processes makes it clear that conditions for free and fair elections were not met on 25 February.

We are strongly concerned by the report by the High Commissioner that some of the violations committed in Belarus may amount to crimes against humanity.

We condemn the politically motivated sentences and call for the immediate and unconditional release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners.

We reiterate the need for accountability,  to achieve justice for the victims and  prevent further crimes. We urge the Belarusian authorities to fulfil their obligations under international human rights law.

Mr High Commissioner,

How can the international community support  political prisoners in Belarus?