The European Union would like to thank the Special Rapporteur for her presentation and important work.
The EU is gravely concerned about the serious deterioration of the human rights situation in Belarus following the 9 August 2020 presidential elections. We continue to stand with the Belarusian people who are relentlessly and fearlessly expressing their democratic aspirations by exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. We are appalled that they were violently deprived of the right to determine their future through free and fair elections.
In the run up to and the aftermath of the presidential election we have witnessed systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by Belarusian authorities. The EU condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of force against peaceful protesters, as well as attacks against human rights defenders, political opposition, journalists and others who are exercising their rights. We are also appalled by the violence used against women, children, and the elderly, and the already well documented instances of torture and ill-treatment. We call on Belarus to refrain from Internet shutdowns and to respect media freedom. The EU strongly condemns the arbitrary arrests and detentions on, enforced disappearances and forced exile, as well as the announcement by Belarussian authorities on 12 October that lethal force would be used against protesters. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those unlawfully detained.
It is with grief and in disbelief that we have witnessed the loss of life, the suffering, and violations of human rights and the rule of law in Belarus. We stand in solidarity with all the victims and call for all those accountable to be brought to justice.
The EU reiterates with insistence its call to the Belarusian authorities to fully respect their obligations under international human rights law, including freedom of peaceful assembly and association and freedoms of opinion, expression, and information. Intimidation and persecution based on political grounds must stop immediately.
We therefore urge Belarusian authorities to respect the human rights of the people of Belarus and engage in meaningful and inclusive dialogue with both, civil society and international institutions, including with you, Madam Special Rapporteur.
Madam Special Rapporteur,
The EU wishes to reiterate its readiness to take action to support the people of Belarus in their pursuit of a democratic and peaceful society, also through initiatives in international fora. We recall in this respect the resolution on the human rights situation in Belarus in the run up to the 2020 Presidential election and its aftermath, introduced by the EU and adopted by the Human Rights Council on 18 September 2020 after an urgent debate.
The European Union stands ready to assist you, Madam Special Rapporteur, in your important work of monitoring the human rights situation in Belarus. How can we contribute to facilitate the realization of your mandate for the benefit of the Belarusian people?