Joint Nordic statement for side-event on “Report on Alleged Human Rights Violations related to the Presidential Elections of 9 august 2020 in Belarus by Professor Dr. Wolfgang Benedek” – 2. December 2020
On behalf of the Nordic countries, I would like to initially thank Professor Wolfgang Benedek for his work as Rapporteur under the OSCE’s Moscow Mechanism.I would also like to thank the numerous individuals, including human rights defenders, journalists and other media workers and members of civil society in Belarus who contributed information and testified for this extensive report. We are deeply grateful for your efforts.
The report confirms that we were right to be concerned. Based on extensive documentation, the report concludes that there is overwhelming evidence that the presidential elections of 9 August 2020 were falsified. And that massive and systematic human rights violations were committed by the Belarusian security forces in response to peaceful demonstrations and protests. The tragic death of 31-year old Raman Bandarenka last month is yet another horrific example of the brutal reality in Belarus.
Despite numerous reported cases of human rights violations and abuses, including cases of torture and other ill-treatment, as well as sexual and gender-based violence, the security forces continue to operate with general impunity.
We encourage Belarus to engage to follow up the recommendations of the report, to end this campaign of violence and repression, to ensure the release of all unjustly imprisoned as well as to allow for a safe return for those in forced exile and to bring to justice all perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses. This is not an internal matter of concern for Belarus. Within the OSCE, participating States – including Belarus – have agreed that the commitments undertaken in the field of the human dimension of the OSCE are matters of direct and legitimate concern to all participating States.
We welcome the recommendations Professor Benedek has offered in the report. In closing, we would like to ask Professor Benedek a question: What do you consider to be the most effective thing we, as the international community, can do in order to end the impunity of perpetrators of torture and ill-treatment? Given that we are meeting in a New York context today, could we kindly ask you to elaborate on the recommendation on the role of the UN in this regard?