HRC49: Item 4 – Belarus – OHCHR Report

Video statement

17 March 2022

Check against delivery.


The report of the Examination gives clear details and evidence of the “widespread and systematic nature of the human rights violations” in Belarus.

Today, the Belarusian human rights organisation Viasna recognises over 1000 political prisoners, including many of its own staff members. However, the number of those detained for political reasons could be as many as 5,000, and is increasing with further arrests of those who publicly protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Torture and ill-treatment continue to be used against those in detention. Many Belarusians have fled the country, and some now find themselves trapped in Ukraine.

This follows a prolonged systematic attack by the Belarusian authorities against civil society and independent media.  The government liquidated at least 275 civil society organisations in 2021, including all independent human rights organisations, and re-introduced  criminal liability for “acting on behalf of unregistered or liquidated organisations.”

Those who are subject to human rights violations in Belarus do not currently have any effective legal remedies or recourse to justice, and look to this Council to ensure an accountability process for serious human rights violations.

We therefore call on this Council to renew the Examination’s mandate, and ensure its work is sufficiently resourced and funded.

Finally, we ask the High Commissioner, in the event that the mandate of the Belarus Examination is renewed by the Council, whether her office will do its utmost to ensure the smooth continuation of the Examination’s work.

Thank you.