HRC 49th Session – Item 4: ID on OHCHR report on Belarus – Statement by Estonia – 17 March 2022

Mr. President,

Estonia fully aligns with the statement delivered by the EU. Estonia thanks the OHCHR and the independent experts for the report.

Belarus is a vivid and sad example of the situation in which grave and persistent human rights violations and the increasing use of violence against its citizens have led to the de facto loss of national sovereignty. Russia has completely turned Belarus under its influence. Belarus has become a launch pad for Russian missiles and bombers, which have killed hundreds of Ukrainians, including women and children. The Minsk regime has shared responsibility for Russia’s aggression and war crimes in Ukraine.

In parallel, the Belarussian regime is extending repression against its citizens, including those who express their opposition to the war. The judicial system does not provide adequate legal protection, while focusing on repressions instead. Ordinary citizens are faced with injustice, unfair trials and disproportionate penalties. Torture, including sexual and gender-based violence, and ill-treatment are used to intimidate detainees. The law enforcement authorities enjoy full impunity.

We strongly condemn all human rights violations and reiterate our repeated requests to immediately and unconditionally release all arbitrarily detained persons, including political prisoners, and hold perpetrators to account.

Madame High Commissioner,

In addition to documenting and preserving information and evidence of human rights violations committed in Belarus, what other steps should be taken for the purposes of present and future accountability measures?

Thank you!