Following last year’s widely disputed presidential election, Belarusian authorities have unleashed a campaign of brutal reprisals against dissent and committed a plethora of human rights violations and crimes under international law against the country’s people, said Amnesty International, on the election’s one-year anniversary.
These violations include unlawful use of force, arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, enforced disappearances and abductions, and politically motivated prosecutions under trumped-up charges. Dozens of human rights NGOs and other civil society organizations have been arbitrarily closed and many of their staff have been arrested as suspects in fabricated criminal cases or forced into exile. At least three peaceful protestors have died as a result of police use of force, while tens of thousands were subjected to arbitrary arrests and detention. Hundreds more have complained of torture. These violations have not been investigated, and suspected perpetrators have not faced any charges.
“Over the last year, thousands of peaceful protesters and people with dissenting views have been arbitrarily detained, forced into exile or left living in fear of arbitrary prosecution and imprisonment. Hundreds have already been named criminal suspects or convicted and sent to prison for long terms, including a child. The unfolding human rights crisis in Belarus is a saga of horror and despair with no end in sight,” said Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Director.
The crimes under international law committed against the people of Belarus have no statute of limitations. The rest of the world must not remain a bystanderMarie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Director
“The crimes under international law committed against the people of Belarus have no statute of limitations. The rest of the world must not remain a bystander. This grim chapter will be closed only when the last survivor of human rights violations in Belarus is provided with redress, and all those responsible for human rights violations are brought to justice.”
Amnesty International has closely followed developments in Belarus over the last year, and produced a report revealing how the Belarusian authorities have used the justice system as a repressive tool to punish survivors of torture rather than suspected perpetrators. Amnesty International also launched the #StandWithBelarus global solidarity campaign which exposed brutal government reprisals against people from all walks of life – women, children, journalists, students, pensioners, medics, artists, athletes, trade unionists and others.
Please see the following public statement by Amnesty International addressing the ongoing crackdown on the dissent in Belarus.