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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine align themselves with this statement.
The EU thanks the UN High Commissioner and the Special Rapporteur for their valuable and impartial information on the alarming situation of human rights in Belarus. We also thank Ms Tsikhanouskaja and other speakers for their moving testimonies and first hand information. We commend the peaceful demonstrations that have shown the strong desire by Belarusians for democracy and human rights to be respected.
The EU is deeply concerned about the serious deterioration of the human rights situation in Belarus in the run up to and the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.The presidential election held on 9 August 2020 was neither free nor fair. It has been followed by a series of grave unprecedented violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms such as the freedom of peaceful assembly and association, freedom of opinion, expression, and information, including freedom of the media, both online and offline, as well as complete internet shutdowns and targeted content blocking.
We are alarmed by the Special Procedure Mandate Holders' reports of attacks on, and torture and cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment of peaceful protesters as well as harassment, intimidation and detentions of opposition leaders, including members of the Coordination Council, human rights defenders, civil society representatives, journalists and other media workers, members of labour unions and strike committees. The enforced disappearances, forced abductions and expulsions and arbitrary detentions continue to take place every day in Belarus. We call for the immediate release of all those who have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty.
We are also deeply concerned about credible allegations of widespread torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by law enforcement officers, including in prisons and detention centres, which urgently require an independent investigation.
Due to the above mentioned worrying situation, the EU is presenting a resolution at the end of this Urgent Debate to request the High Commissioner to present an interim oral update with recommendations to the Human Rights Council before the end of the year 2020, and to present a comprehensive written report on the human rights situation in the lead up to, during and after the 2020 presidential election in Belarus to the Council at its forty-sixth session followed by an interactive dialogue. We believe that the continued scrutiny by the Council and the international community is key to prevent further escalation on the ground.
The EU stands in solidarity with the people of Belarus who demand respect for their basic human rights and fundamental freedoms rights through free and fair elections.