Remarks at a Meeting of the Third Committee on a Briefing by the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Belarus

Gregory McElwain
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
October 24, 2018


The United States regrets that the Government of Belarus continues to refuse to recognize and engage with the Special Rapporteur.

We are disappointed at the lack of progress on electoral reforms recommended by OSCE observation missions and are concerned by investigations targeting journalists at several independent media organizations’ offices in August in connection with the so-called BelTA case.

We call on the Government of Belarus to discontinue the practice of blocking online news outlets and of fining so-called “freelance” journalists. We urge the Government to respect freedom of expression, which includes the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, through any medium.

In addition, we note with concern continued excessive restrictions on civil society, in particular the refusal to register important human rights NGOs or opposition political parties.

The United States is concerned by credible reports that the leader and chief accountant of the independent Radio and Electronics Trade Union, one of the largest independent organizations in the country, were convicted and sentenced to house arrest. We are also concerned that police detained at least 11 opposition activists for protesting the verdict and holding political banners outside the courthouse.

We look forward to progress on the human rights agenda and to continued improvement in our bilateral relationship with Belarus.