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Statement on the human rights situation in Belarus

Demonstration in Minsk, Belarus

Meeting by videoconference today, PACE Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights adopted the following statement on the human rights situation in Belarus:

"The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights stands with the courageous people of Belarus who are fighting for their rights and dignity. Hundreds of thousands have peacefully defied official warnings and threats of retaliation. There are multiple, credible reports of massive, serious violations of the right to free and fair elections, of the freedom of expression and assembly, of the right to liberty and of acts of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment against peaceful protesters.

Due to the reported violations, the Committee refuses to recognise the result of the last presidential election. It demands that the election shall be repeated in a fair and transparent manner, under the supervision of international observers.

The Committee considers that the perpetrators of the serious human rights violations in the context of the recent presidential elections and its aftermath must be held to account.

In order to send a clear signal to all members of the security forces that there will be no impunity for serious human rights violations, the Council of Europe, in cooperation with other international bodies, shall urgently set up an international investigative body to collect information and secure evidence on human rights crimes in Belarus. Both the Belarusian authorities and representatives of civil society shall be invited to cooperate in this investigation, whose results will be published and made available to any national or international law enforcement bodies willing and able to prosecute massive human rights violations committed in Belarus."