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UN report finds potential crime against humanity in Belarus

By Chi Wai Hu | HKU Faculty of Law, CN/HK

March 18, 2024

Credits @FFHR.CZ

UN report finds potential crime against humanity in Belarus

The UN Human Rights Council released a report on Friday on the human rights situation in Belarus during and after the country’s presidential election in 2020. It concludes that the crime against humanity of persecution may have been committed in Belarus.

The report, which is the advance unedited version, presents evidence on a wide range of issues, including arbitrary deprivation of the right of life, enforced disappearance, torture and discrimination on grounds of political opinion. In particular, the report highlights the mass arbitrary detention in the period from August 9 to 14, 2020, when the presidential election took place and sparked mass protests in the country. The report says that at least 550 civil society organizations have been forced to close for fear of persecution or violence

According to the report, the mass imprisonment and torture constitute a violation of the International Human Rights Standards on Elections, and potentially amount to a crime against humanity. The report’s investigation commenced after the Human Rights Council passed resolution 52/29 and expressed its “deep concerns at the further deterioration in the situation of human rights in Belarus.”

The report says that the Belarus government continues “an active policy to shield perpetrators and prevent accountability” in Belarus. Despite this, it urges the Belarus government to release all arbitrarily detained individuals and other UN member states to facilitate international refugee protection.

The Belarus government, led by president Alexander Lukashenko, has been condemned by the UN and rejected by the EU for its gross human rights violations. Yet, political repression has continued unabated through the imprisonment of dissidents, amendments to electoral laws and property confiscation.



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