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Donahoe: Special Rapporteur will Monitor and Highlight the Grave Human Rights Situation in Belarus
July 6, 2012

Creation of a Special Rapporteur on Belarus
Human Rights Council: 20th Session
Press Statement by Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council

The 20th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva passed a resolution that will create a new independent Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Belarus. This effort was led by the European Union, with close cooperation and strong support from the United States. We were pleased to work with our EU partners to create the rapporteur, who will work to monitor and highlight the grave human rights situation in this country. This is the fifth country-specific monitor created by the Council since the United States joined in 2009.

Since the flawed 2010 Presidential elections, the Belarusian government has significantly curtailed the freedoms of association, assembly and expression, and the right to a fair trial. The United States is deeply concerned about the suppression of these and other fundamental freedoms and human rights, as well as widespread allegations of torture and ill-treatment. We also remain deeply concerned by the government’s crackdown against human rights activists, independent journalists and media, and civil society. As Secretary Clinton has said, “Each time a reporter is silenced, or an activist is threatened, it doesn’t strengthen a government, it weakens a nation. A stool cannot balance on one leg or even two. The system will not be sustainable.”

The Special Rapporteur will encourage the government of Belarus to release and rehabilitate political prisoners, stop oppressive measures against journalists and human rights activists, and end the crackdown on civil society. The United States looks forward to continuing to work with our European partners to improve the situation in Belarus and to address key human rights concerns around the world.