In the past year, the basic rights of Belarusians have been curtailed like never before. The authorities continue their brutal crackdown on the freedoms of expression, association and assembly. Peaceful protesters are systematically attacked and detained, as are independent journalists and human rights defenders. The authorities have constructed a climate of fear in which hundreds of political prisoners are just one of the many consequences.

Belarusians are paying a high price for claiming their rights. We are in awe of their courage and resilience. Many of our long-time partners are either behind bars or have been forced to leave the country. Every new abuse by the authorities has only strengthened our admiration for the work of Belarusian civil society.

Our role remains to support the Belarusians’ aspirations to live in a country governed by the rule of law and respect for human rights. We will continue doing so together with the Belarusian Human Rights House and its member organisations. We count on the support of the international community in holding the Belarusian authorities accountable for their abuses, and in taking all necessary action to prevent further escalation.