Human Rights Council 49th session: Interactive dialogue on human rights situation in Belarus - PR UN, WTO and other organisations Geneva

Human Rights Council 49th Session: Interactive dialogue on human rights situation in Belarus | 17-03-2022

Statement of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Delivered by H.E. Nathalie Olijslager, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Madam High Commissioner,

The Kingdom of the Netherlands aligns itself with the EU statement.

We are deeply concerned about the even further deterioration of the human rights situation in Belarus since the 2020 presidential election. The detention of opposition candidates and the repression of activists, human rights defenders, NGO’s and independent journalists in the pre-election period and its aftermath are unacceptable human rights violations  that need immediate cessation. We strongly urge Belarus to follow the High Commissioners’ call for the immediate, unconditional release of all political prisoners and all persons that have been arbitrarily detained.

Furthermore, we are gravely concerned about the continued, disproportionate use of force by police and security forces against peaceful protesters, and urge Belarus to terminate the repression of civil society and independent media. The especially cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment that LGBTI persons face by the Belarusian authorities is shocking and needs to stop.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms Belarus’ violation of international law by placing its territory to the disposal of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Belarus’ support of the invasion constitutes an act of aggression against Ukraine in itself. Moreover, supporting the illegal invasion makes Belarus complicit to the violations of human rights and international humanitarian law that are currently being committed by the Russian Federation in Ukraine. The Netherlands will seek full accountability. We call on Belarus to not frustrate any humanitarian actions in Ukraine; this violates its obligations under international humanitarian law

High Commissioner, how can the international community assist in removing obstacles that hinder accountability for the human rights violations in Belarus.

Thank you.