FIDH-Viasna Joint Statement during the High Commissioner Oral Update on Belarus

Press release

UN Human Rights Council – Oral Update of the OHCHR on Belarus

4 December 2020

Almost three months ago, The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and its member organization in Belarus “Viasna”, made a statement during an Urgent Debate at the Human Rights Council denouncing the crackdown on human rights in Belarus. The scale of repressions has only increased since that time.

In September, we reported 7,000 arbitrary arrests. That number is now 31,000.

Over 2000 individuals have been beaten or tortured, some subjected to sexual and gender-based violence. At least 4 protesters were killed. To date, not one perpetrator has been held accountable for these heinous crimes, not one criminal investigation has been initiated. Cynically, in the case of Roman Bondarenko [1] , killed in police custody, criminal cases have been initiated against a doctor and journalist that treated and documented the injuries, instead of prosecuting those responsible for the murder.

Retaliatory measures against victims and their lawyers for voicing complaints continue, as well as internet shutdowns and other forms of violations targeting the civil society. Over the past four months, twenty staff or volunteers of Viasna have been arrested. Coordinator of Viasna Marfa Rabkova and volunteer Andrey Chepyuk remain in pre-trial detention.

Our organisations call on States to take stronger measures to end the crackdown and on the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) to:

  • to condemn the ongoing crackdown on peaceful protestors and the civil society in the strongest terms;
  • to establish the facts and circumstances of human rights violations and abuses committed in Belarus, with a view to ensuring full accountability.
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