Ambassador Elisabeth Millard
U.S. Senior Area Advisor for European Affairs
New York, New York
October 26, 2022
Thank you, Special Rapporteur.
The United States condemns the regime’s brutal repression of the pro-democracy movement in Belarus and its deployment of new tools to intimidate and harass the Belarusian people and deny their human rights and fundamental freedoms. Such efforts include allowing the death penalty for criminal charges that are often used to target pro-democracy activists and those who oppose Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine, and legislation enabling Belarusians to be tried in absentia without adequate legal protections.
We call for the immediate release of the over 1,300 political prisoners in Belarus and for the regime to cease such detentions.
We are also alarmed by the regime’s broader efforts to undermine respect for human rights, including reports that the regime is trying to withdraw Belarus from the First Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is a recourse for Belarusians to report allegations of abuses.
Let me close with a question: What more can the international community do to hold the Government of Belarus accountable for its violations and abuses of human rights, and how can we ensure Belarusians are able to report these violations and abuses?