A UN investigator warns that systematic and widespread repression in Belarus is eroding people’s civil and political rights. The investigator’s report was presented at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday. Belarus has boycotted the meeting.
Special Rapporteur Anais Marin says the human rights situation in Belarus has gone from bad to worse. She says authorities are enacting laws that strip the rights and freedoms of their citizens.
She says the criminal code has been amended to restrict freedom of expression, the right to assemble peacefully and other fundamental rights. She says the new laws criminalize activities that were previously considered only administrative offenses retroactively.
She spoke through an interpreter in Geneva on Wednesday, warning that the action increases the worrying prospect of potential abuse due to the arbitrary application of very restrictive legislation.
“Emblematic in that regard is that the scope of the death penalty in Belarus has been expanded to include cases of planning or attempts to plan terrorist acts. Terms that are not clearly defined. It paves the way for the abuse of the death penalty, even if no crime has been committed. “
Investigator Marin says the deterioration of the human rights situation in Belarus has led to a significant contraction in civil space. She says the government is pursuing a deliberate policy of eradicating all media and expressions of dissent.
Marin says 1,214 people are being arrested in Belarus on politically motivated charges. She says the climate of fear and impunity in Belarus has forced tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of oppressed and intimidated Belarusians into exile. She speaks through an interpreter.
“Let me add that my mandate has been informed of severe repression by the authorities against anti-war protesters in Belarus, but also problems and cases of discrimination and hate speech that have forced certain Belarusians to leave their country. beginning of the Russian armed aggression in Ukraine. “
Marin calls on the international community to support and protect the human rights of those Belarusian citizens who have been forced into exile by the state due to oppression and intimidation.
Belarus boycotted Wednesday’s meeting and waived its right to respond. The Belarusian UN mission in Geneva, which was contacted by VOA after the meeting, said it had no comment.