38 nations want to examine human rights situation in Belarus
Washington: The United States and 37 other countries today invoked the OSCE Moscow Mechanism requesting that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) establish an expert mission to examine the dire and continuous deterioration of the human rights situation in Belarus.
This invocation follows OSCE’s November 2020 Moscow Mechanism Mission Report, which documented the Lukashenka regime’s systematic human rights violations and abuses before, during, and following the fraudulent August 9, 2020, presidential election. That report called on the Lukashenka regime to organize new genuine presidential elections based on international standards, release those unjustly detained, engage with the political opposition and civil society, and ensure accountability for victims of abuses.
“This new invocation will establish an expert mission to look into the human rights situation in Belarus and mounting evidence of the Lukashenka regime’s brutal crackdown on all elements of Belarusian society since 2020, as well as allegations of serious abuses linked to the Lukashenka regime’s complicity in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” Vedant Patel, Principal Deputy Spokesperson, United States Department of States, said.
The expert mission will have the mandate to assess Belarus’s adherence to its OSCE commitments and how the Lukashenka regime’s actions may have adversely affected Belarus’s civil society, press freedoms, the rule of law, and the ability of democratic processes and institutions to function.
“We encourage the Belarus authorities to cooperate fully with the expert mission and facilitate its work. The United States and our partners will continue our efforts to hold the Lukashenka regime accountable for its human rights violations and abuses,” Patel said.
Earlier, yesterday, the US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met with Belarusian Democratic Leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya here and expressed the United States’ continuing commitment to supporting the Belarusian people’s “pursuit of a democratic, sovereign, and stable future for Belarus”. Sherman also told Tsikhanouskaya the United States’ intent to launch a comprehensive Strategic Dialogue with the Belarusian democratic movement and civil society beginning in late 2023.
“Deputy Secretary Sherman and Ms Tsikhanouskaya shared their hope that the Strategic Dialogue will bring together relevant agencies of the US government engaged on Belarus as well as a broad cross-section of Belarusian democratic actors, including political leaders, civil society representatives, independent journalists, human rights defenders, lawyers, union leaders, academics, and ordinary Belarusians,” Patel informed.
– global bihari bureau