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U.S. Remains Deeply concerned with Restrictions on Fundamental Freedoms in Belarus
May 4, 2015

U.S. Statement at the UPR of Belarus As Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper

22nd Session, May 4, 2015

The United States welcomes the Belarusian delegation to the UPR Working Group.

We recommend that Belarus:

  1. Guarantee freedoms of assembly and association and repeal Article 193.1 of the Criminal Code, which criminalizes civic activity of non-registered organizations, and the Law on Mass Events;
  2. Amend its electoral laws to bring them in line with OSCE/ODIHR recommendations for electoral reform to demonstrate respect for a democratic political process, freedom of association, and freedom of expression ahead of the 2015 presidential election; and
  3. Invite the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus to visit the country to demonstrate the government’s commitment to respecting human rights.

We remain deeply concerned with restrictions on freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association, as well as on workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain.  We are also concerned by the restrictive operating environment for independent media and civil society organizations.

We note the early release of human rights defender and political prisoner Ales Byalyatski.  We call on Belarus to immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners.