HRC 46th Session - Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on the High Commissioner’s Report on Belarus

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Delivered by Lucy Duncan, New Zealand Permanent Representative, 25 February 2021

Madame President

New Zealand welcomes the High Commissioner’s update on the situation in Belarus and the opportunity for further dialogue on human rights.

New Zealand remains deeply concerned by the human rights environment in Belarus and regrets that progress has not been made since the High Commissioner’s Oral Update in December 2020. This is unacceptable.

New Zealand is particularly concerned by ongoing credible reports of arbitrary detention and torture, including sexual and psychological violence against peaceful demonstrators by security forces. The raids on human rights organisation Viasna, the Belarusian Association of Journalists and independent trade unions to suppress media and civil society are also worrying.

Both the right to freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration are fundamental and inalienable human rights that must be upheld globally. New Zealand encourages the Belarusian Government to implement the High Commissioner’s recommendations to both immediately and unconditionally release all those unlawfully or arbitrarily detained for peacefully exercising their freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.

I have a question for the High Commissioner: Are you confident that human rights observers and civil society have sufficient access to monitor the human rights situation in detention centres?

Thank you Madame President.


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