UN urged the authorities of Belarus to release all who had been detained for participation in peaceful protests, to stop tortures of detainees and investigate all cases of human rights violations including disappearance of people. The state is obliged to encourage citizens in the exercise of their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and shall not persecute for it, - stated the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

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Photo by K.Golubovich. UN strongly condemned use of force against demonstrators in Belarus and urged the authorities to stop torture and release all the detained.

Reportedly, most people detained due to the protests, this is about thousands of the arrested, have been released so far. However OHCHR remains gravely concerned about the fate of more than 100 persons still behind the bars.  About 60 of them are accused of “criminal offences related to their participation in demonstrations that mainly were of peaceful nature.” Such accusations may entail severe sentences.  Also there are reports about new arrests.  

Moreover the whereabouts of at least eight persons disappeared on August 9, when the protests started, remain unknown up to the present. 

According to OHCHR press secretary Liz Trossell, the reports continue on “mass tortures of people and other forms of ill treatment both during detaining and when in custody.” Among the victims there are journalists and minors. “We are worried that, in all appearances, nothing has been done so far to investigate these allegations, which would allow to hold the guilty liable,” said the press secretary.  

She reminded Belarusian authorities that the international law provides for a complete prohibition of tortures and supported the call  of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to take urgent actions to hold “thorough, independent and impartial investigation of all human rights violations including death of four persons caused by injuries received in the course of the protests.”  

“We call on the authorities of Belarus to immediately release all those, who were illegally or unreasonably detained, and stop arresting people exercising their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” according to the statement of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. 

 As Liz Trossell said, considering mass detentions it is not possible to receive full information about all the detained. She recalled that according to the international standards the collection of reliable information in such situation is the duty of the state. The authorities must document everything related to the detained and to inform their relatives and lawyers about their whereabouts.  

Liz Trossell recalled with appreciation the important role of nongovernmental organizations, which, despite challenges, document allegations of human rights violations that took place before, during, and after the presidential elections on August 9. She called for support for their work. 

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged the authorities not to interfere but to help citizens exercise their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.  

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