Human Rights Council – 52nd Session Side Event: Accountability for International Crimes and Serious Human Rights Violations in Belarus
Statement by U.S. DPR for Human Rights Kelly Billingsley
Thank you to Lithuania and to all of the organizers for holding this timely event, and thank you Vice Minister Adomenas and Vice Minister Gerwel for your strong remarks. We welcome the update from the Special Rapporteur and the brave and compelling testimony of the other panelists. Indeed the human rights situation in Belarus is grim and continues to deteriorate.
Two and a half years following unfree and unfair presidential elections in Belarus, the Lukashenka regime continues to carry out egregious violations and abuses against members of the pro-democracy movement, civil society, and other Belarusians exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The United States strongly condemns the detention of nearly 1,500 political prisoners, the tens of thousands of reported instances of arbitrary arrest and torture, and the regime’s forced closure of nearly 1,000 NGOs, ban on nearly all independent media, and harassment and intimidation of exiles fleeing violence.
It is imperative that the international community continue to work together to ensure the Lukashenka regime is held to account for the horrific human rights violations and abuses it has committed in Belarus, and for its complicity in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
I would like to ask the panelists how we can strengthen documentation efforts to promote accountability for the Lukashenka regime’s continuing human rights abuses?