Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UN HRC53 – Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on Belarus [July 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 4 July 2023.

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Belarus, as delivered by UK Human Rights Ambassador, Rita French.

Thank you Mr President,

Thank you Special Rapporteur for your report which provides a timely update to the international community on Lukashenko’s ongoing brutal and systematic campaign of repression.

Let me begin by expressing the UK’s solidarity with the Belarusian people who have shown immense courage in the face of relentless repression.

The extent of this repression is staggering. Belarus is holding almost 1,500 of its own citizens as political prisoners. A large part of civil society has been destroyed, journalists and human rights defenders are targeted, and peaceful demonstrations are brutally repressed. We continue to see farcical trials leading to long, politically motivated sentences. Those in detention face torture, and cruel and degrading treatment. We are particularly concerned by the assessment that some human rights violations may amount to crimes against humanity.

The report also notes recent legislative changes which further restrict political rights and extend the death penalty. These amendments further demonstrate the regime’s contempt for basic freedoms and the rule of law.

The UK calls upon Belarus to act upon the recommendations of this report. We also urge Belarus to end its facilitation of Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine.

Special Rapporteur, how best can states support individuals forced into exile and civil society organizations that have had to relocate outside of Belarus?