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OHCHR report on Belarus: At least 100,000 people fled abroad after the 2020 presidential election Document

2023 2023-03-17T18:55:38+0300 2023-03-17T18:55:56+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

A report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights “Belarus in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election and in its aftermath” has been released. It concludes that there are sufficient grounds to believe that systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed in Belarus, and some of the violations may also amount to crimes against humanity.

The report is submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 49/26 within the framework of the 52nd session of the UN now taking place in Geneva (February 27–March 31, 2023). It covers the period from 1 May 2020 to 31 December 20222 and is based on a detailed analysis of 207 interviews with victims and witnesses, representatives of nongovernmental organizations, journalists, lawyers, and medical personnel, in addition to interviews conducted during the previous reporting period. 

The report covers violations in the following areas:

  • Unnecessary and disproportionate use of force
  • Torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment
  • Arbitrary arrest and detention
  • Right to due process and a fair trial
  • Freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association
  • Sexual and gender-based violence
  • Child separation and undue interference in family life
  • Forced exile

“At least 100,000 individuals have sought safety abroad after the 2020 presidential election in Belarus. Individuals were compelled to leave the country and were unable to safely return, owing to the threat of arbitrary detention, ill-treatment in detention, and unfair trial, as well as violations of economic, social, and cultural rights. Such displacement is directly connected to policies and practices employed by the Government of Belarus, including the massive crackdown on dissent and the purposefully hostile environment that prevents safe return” the report says.

In addition, the report mentions the constitutional amendments introduced in 2022, which provide for the possibility to terminate citizenship, and the legislation enabling the revocation of citizenship of a person convicted of “participation in extremist activities or causing serious harm to the interests of the Republic of Belarus”.

“The death penalty may now be imposed for crimes not involving intentional killing, contrary to international minimum standards on the use of the death penalty, which limit it to the most serious crimes, involving intentional killing.”

Among the conclusions of the report was that some of the violations in Belarus may also amount to crimes against humanity.

You can read the full version of the report and its recommendations below:

OHCHR report on Belarus: At least 100,000 people fled abroad after the 2020 presidential election


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