The human rights situation in Belarus continued to deteriorate in 2021. This statement was made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet at the 48th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, DW reports.
It is noted that more than 650 people in Belarus may currently be imprisoned because of their beliefs - including representatives of the opposition, human rights defenders, journalists, protesters and activists. The speaker highlighted "the persistent allegations of widespread and systematic use of torture and ill-treatment in the context of the arbitrary detention and arrest of protesters."
“I am deeply concerned about the tightening of restrictions on civil space and fundamental freedoms, including police operations against civil society organizations and independent media, arrests and prosecutions of human rights activists and journalists on charges that usually appear to be politically motivated ", noted Bachelet.
The UN Commissioner separately touched upon the topic of suppression of media freedom in Belarus. According to Bachelet, in 2020 at least 497 journalists and media workers were detained in this country, 68 of them were ill-treated. By August 10, 2021, 27 journalists remained in custody.
By the end of August 2021, 129 civil society organizations in Belarus had been closed or were in the process of liquidation, including long-term partners of the UN human rights mechanisms.
Commenting on the situation with the massive crossing of the EU borders by illegal migrants from Belarus, the UN Commissioner emphasized the desperate situation of these people.
"Their human rights - including food, water, medical care - must be given the highest priority, and any asylum or other request for assistance must be considered on a case-by-case basis," Bachelet said.