HRC44 Oral Statement for the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Belarus

Press release

UN Human Rights Council – 44th session

Item 4 - Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Belarus

10 July 2020

Madam President,

FIDH condemns the continued persecution against human rights defenders, independent journalists, opposition activists, and leaders of independent trade unions in Belarus – who face a constant threat of harassment, arbitrary arrests, and administrative or criminal prosecution.

We are gravely concerned by the wave of arbitrary arrests and detentions of participants in peaceful protests across Belarus, which started in May 2020 at the beginning of the Presidential election campaign to denounce the policies pursued by President Lukashenko’s government. We deplore the count of 25 political prisoners, including opposition figures, bloggers, and human rights defenders.

On the issue of death penalty, three more sentences were issued this year, despite repeated violations of due process. In the case of 21-year-old and 19-year-old Kostev brothers, the State prosecutor insisted on the death sentence, and the President designated them guilty even before the court decision, in violation of their right to an independent trial and the presumption of innocence. We urge for a presidential pardon and an alleviated sentence.

Finally, we regret that follow-up reviews by Treaty Bodies, [a sign of willingness to abide to obligations under international human rights law,] did not engender an improvement of the human rights situation domestically. As many systemic human rights challenges remain, we urge the Council to strongly condemn the ongoing human rights violations, and to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.

I thank you.

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