HRC 50 – ID with SR on Belarus – 29 June 2022 – Statement by Estonia

Mr President,

Estonia fully aligns with the statement delivered by the European Union. Estonia thanks the Special Rapporteur for the report. We strongly support her mandate.

The overall situation of human rights in Belarus continues to deteriorate. Persons, who question the so-called official results of the August 2020 presidential election, face long prison sentences. The number of people convicted based on politically motivated charges is growing steadily. A new wave of repressions began in February, with the imposition of a new constitution by the regime and with the Russian Federation’s unjustified and unprovoked military aggression against Ukraine, where Minsk is the Kremlin’s military ally. The most drastic recent development are the amendments to the country’s criminal code.

The media, controlled by the Belarussian authorities, is openly inciting war, justifying Russian aggression and using hate speech against international democratic institutions and human rights defenders. We are receiving more and more information about the repression of anti-war activists in connection with the ongoing and extensive military exercises in the border areas of Belarus.

The use of unjustified violence by the authorities and the overall atmosphere of fear have led to the mass exodus of political opponents, human rights defenders, representatives of the free media, civil activists, intellectuals and many ordinary people. The authorities continue to restrict freedom of expression, tightening the control of Internet-based information sources and limiting access to independent media. Persecution of journalists, bloggers and media-workers and repressions against non-government-controlled media are unprecedented.

Madame Rapporteur,

The human rights violations in Belarus committed by the authorities need continuous and comprehensive monitoring. Which steps could we take to improve cooperation and the exchange of information between the various institutions and monitoring missions?

Thank You!