HR body finds Belarusia crimes against people

Widespread detention of government critics and violence against protesters constitute crimes against humanity.

Crimes against humanity are being committed in Belarusia, the United Nations Human Rights Office said in a report released on Friday.

“Violations appear to have been part of a campaign of violence and repression intentionally directed at those who were — or were perceived to be — opposing the government or had expressed critical views,” the office said in Geneva, according to Agence France-Presse.

As of Friday, 1,462 people are in detention in Belarus on politically motivated charges, the UN rights office said.

As of February, the authorities had shut down 797 non-government organizations and another 432 others had closed to avoid potential prosecution.

“Most independent Belarusian media outlets have been forced to close, with some declared ‘extremist,’” UNHRO spokesperson Elizabeth Throssell told reporters.

The report was published just hours before Belarus handed long jail terms to a senior staff at the country’s largest independent news site, which has been forced to close.

The report, covering the period from 1 May 2020, to 31 December 2022, draws on interviews with 207 victims and witnesses, and more than 2,500 items of evidence, including photographs, videos, medical and court records.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk called on Lukashenko’s government to end the “systematic repression” of critics and release detainees held on political grounds.

with AFP

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