Human rights violations in Belarus: EU to adopt more sanctions targeting primarily judges and prosecutors
February 17, 2023

Human rights violations in Belarus: EU to adopt more sanctions targeting primarily judges and prosecutors

The European Union will continue to stand up for the respect of human rights in Belarus, Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič told the European Parliament on 16 February, speaking on behalf of EU High-Representative Josep Borrell.

Lenarčič shared the EU’s concerns about the repression that continues to intensify in Belarus. There are now more than 1,450 political prisoners, a number that increases by the day, he said.

He recalled the legislation recently adopted in Belarus, which allows for deprivation of citizenship of citizens living abroad, as well as “harsh and politically motivated” sentences, including against Andrzej Poczobut, a journalist and deputy chairman of the Union of Poles in Belarus. Ales Bialiatski, founder of the ‘Viasna’ organisation, who was arrested in 2020, is now on trial and risks between 9 and 12 years of prison.

Lenarčič reminded that the EU has led three successful resolutions in the UN Human Rights Council to report on the situation in Belarus and establish a robust accountability mechanism under the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“Work is currently ongoing to ensure alignment between Russia’s and Belarus’ sanctions regime, and the [European] Commission is also working on adopting more sanctions in the context of human rights violations, sanctions that would target primarily judges and prosecutors. In the event of further involvement of Belarus in the war, further areas of sanctions will be explored,” Lenarčič told Parliament. “We will continue to call for the immediate and unconditional release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners, and for the cessation of repression.”

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