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Human Rights Situation in Belarus in 2023 Document

2024 2024-01-15T20:50:09+0300 2024-01-15T20:50:09+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”


  • the major international organizations consistently and repeatedly highlighted the catastrophic situation in the field of human rights in Belarus;
  • as of the end of 2023, the Human Rights Center Viasna was aware of 4,248 persons sentenced to various types of punishment on politically motivated charges, including 910 women. 1,603 of them were convicted last year;
  • as a result of unprecedented repression, Belarus had 1,452 political prisoners as of December 31, 2023; 168 of them were women; 535 political prisoners are young people; another 1,413 people, of which 339 are women, were released after serving their sentences, pending trial, following the imposition of a non-custodial sentence or, in isolated cases, pardoned;
  • the courts issued at least 4,466 rulings in administrative trials, of which fines were imposed in 1,822 cases and terms of administrative imprisonment were ordered in 2,005 trials; 38 cases were dismissed; while the outcomes of the remaining cases are unknown;
  • while the level of criminal repression remained high, there was a pronounced increase in criminal cases on charges of “creating, leading and participating in extremist groups”, together with “facilitating and financing extremist activities”; at the same time, individuals are still routinely prosecuted in criminal cases for participation in the 2020 protests and for commenting online;
  • political prisoners are kept in particularly harsh conditions, subjected to enhanced security and supervision measures, and to restrictions not provided for by law; as a result, many political prisoners are disciplinarily deprived of the right to receive packages, including containing vital medications, and in the majority of cases, of all opportunities to see their family members and lawyers; correspondence of political prisoners is arbitrarily and systemically limited;
  • political prisoners are forced to perform low-paid and often hazardous labor;
  • an alarming trend of 2023 was the holding of some political prisoners incommunicado, i.e. in complete isolation;
  • no less than 29 political prisoners, including six twice (including two women), had their sentences of imprisonment extended;
  • people with disabilities, chronic diseases, and the elderly find it particularly difficult to cope with imprisonment; they are often subjected to intolerable conditions, without taking into account their vulnerable situation;
  • after being released after serving their sentences, political prisoners fall under the strict control of the police, going beyond the usual supervision of released convicts; the rights of convicts are further limited by the consequences of being blacklisted as “persons involved in extremist activities”;
  • courts continue to function as an instrument of repression against persons targeted by politically motivated administrative, criminal and civil charges;
  • the socio-political sector is shrinking as a result of deregistration or forced self-liquidation of organizations, as well as other repressive measures;
  • persecution continues for peaceful expression of opinions, and under the guise of fighting terrorism and extremism;
  • journalists, media workers and bloggers are persecuted;
  • persecution continues for anti-war stance;
  • torture and prohibited treatment remain a tool of suppression and intimidation; there are no known cases of investigation and prosecution of those responsible for systemic torture and other gross violations of human rights in August 2020 and subsequent years at the national level;
  • the authorities violate the right to life: political prisoners Ales Pushkin and Mikalai Klimovich died in captivity as a result of failure to provide medical care;
  • the scope of application of the death penalty is expanding; a new death sentence was imposed.
Human Rights Situation in Belarus in 2023

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