A UN expert compares Belarus with “totalitarian” states Human Rights News


The Special Rapporteur, Anais Marin, warns the Human Rights Council that Minsk is moving to “purge” Belarus of all dissent.

A UN expert has compared Belarus to “totalitarian states”, warning that the recent landing in Minsk of a passenger plane and the subsequent arrest of an opposition journalist on board was part of an ongoing effort by officials to “purge” the country of all dissent.

Anais Marin, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of rights in the country, told the Human Rights Council on Monday that the May incident “illustrates the desire of the authorities to end all forms of purging dissent the society of elements that it considers undesirable “.

“It is a form of purge reminiscent of those practiced by totalitarian states,” he said in a speech at the Geneva-based forum.

On May 23, Belarusian authorities diverted a Ryanair plane flying from Greece to Lithuania and forced it to land in Minsk, which was followed by the arrest of Lukashenko critic Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend.

Marin added that the rights situation was “deteriorating” in Belarus, which was shaken by months of protests late last year after the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko during an August vote, which was widely denounced. by her opponents as manipulated, but who delivered the 66 years. old a sixth term in office.

Authorities responded to the protests with a massive crackdown that detained thousands of people and reported police brutality. Most of Lukashenko’s opponents are already in prison or have fled the country.

Violations of “serious” rights

Marin, who was presenting his latest report to the council, denounced that the “already catastrophic situation” in Belarus that he had highlighted the last time he spoke before the top UN rights body in September had worsened significantly.

He noted that three of Lukashenko’s opponents during last year’s election remained behind bars and that they were among the 530 people currently considered prisoners of conscience in the country.

Over the past year, Marin said more than 35,000 people had been arbitrarily detained for simply exercising their right to peaceful assembly or solidarity with victims of rights abuses.

Thousands more had been subjected to violence, humiliation and intimidation by law enforcement, he said, adding that he had received information indicating that the detention of detainees was almost “systematic.”

“These extremely serious violations have not led to any prosecution in Belarus,” he said, denouncing the “persistent impunity” in the country.

The US is threatening new sanctions

Marin’s statements came as the Washington delegate to the Human Rights Council hinted at the possibility of new economic sanctions against Belarus in a heavily drafted speech on Monday.

The United States announced specific sanctions against key members of the Belarusian government after the plane crash.

“This contempt for international standards cannot go unanswered,” the U.S. delegate said Monday, calling the incident “sick.”

“We will consider other actions necessary,” he added, referring to the sanctions.

The European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada have it too sanctions imposed about Lukashenko and his allies.

Minsk has reacted angrily to the movements, saying they are “limited to declaring an economic war.”

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