Interactive Dialogue on the Interim Oral Update of the High Commissioner on the Situation of Human Rights in Belarus
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As Delivered by Tim Johnson
Human Rights Council – 51st Session
Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, Madam Acting High Commissioner for today’s update.
The United States deplores the regime’s holding of over 1,300 political prisoners; its reported opening of more than 11,000 criminal cases on politically motivated supposed “extremism” charges; and its efforts to ban or otherwise imprison, intimidate, and harass independent media, NGOs, and civic activists.
We further condemn Belarus’ complicity in Russia’s violations of the UN Charter.
We call for the release of all political prisoners, including Hanna Pyshnik, Kanstantsin Baisarau, and Pavel Piskun, who are serving multi-year terms after capturing images of Russian military equipment being transported through Belarus for use in Putin’s war.
We are also alarmed by the regime’s broader efforts to undermine and weaken respect for human rights generally, 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 Belarusian citizens to report allegations of abuse and torture.
Madam Acting High Commissioner, what more can we do to urge against the regime’s possible withdrawal from the ICCPR First Optional Protocol, in order to ensure Belarusians are able to report human rights abuses and torture?
I thank you.