UN Human Rights Council 44: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Belarus.

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Madam President,

The United Kingdom thanks the Special Rapporteur for her latest report.

We are concerned about continued targeting of civil society activists, peaceful protestors, journalists, and bloggers in Belarus. Since the publication of the Special Rapporteur’s reports, we have seen the harassment, arbitrary detention and arrest of over 400 people exercising their rights of freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. The UK supports the joint statement by several Special Rapporteurs of 5 June, calling on Belarus to stop silencing voices. We call on Belarus to uphold its obligations and commitments to respect fundamental freedoms, and to ensure elections meet international standards.

The UK opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. We share the Special Rapporteur’s concerns about the secrecy and lack of transparency surrounding its continued use in Belarus. The UK welcomes the announcement by the Belarusian Supreme Court to annul the death sentence on Viktar Skrundzik and order a retrial. We hope this step will lead to a reconsideration of the use of the death penalty in Belarus and its eventual abolition.

Madam Special Rapporteur,

In your view, what more could the international community do to encourage Belarus to engage with your mandate?

Thank you.

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