Belarus needs ‘strongest global response’

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya   | Photo Credit: FABRICE COFFRINI

Belarus and several allies tried on Friday to block a video message from opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya at the UN Human Rights Council, where she urged “the strongest” international response to Minsk’s abuses.

Ms. Tikhanovskaya demanded “immediate international attention” for her country as it reels from a brutal crackdown on protests over the disputed re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko.

But her short video message, in a rare urgent debate at the council, had barely begun before Belarus Ambassador Yuri Ambrazevich demanded it be switched off.

He repeatedly interrupted the screening, raising procedural objections and insisting her words had “no relevance on the substance... on the events that are taking place today.”

He was overruled by council President Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger.

The debate on the rights situation in Belarus, requested by the European Union, focused on violations and the crackdown on the unprecedented demonstrations which broke out after disputed August 9 elections.

Russian support

Mr. Lukashenko, who has ruled the ex-Soviet state for 26 years, claimed to have defeated Ms. Tikhanovskaya with 80% of the vote.

The leader, who on Thursday warned of a possible “war” with some neighbouring countries, has refused to step down and has turned to Russia for support. His security forces have detained thousands of protesters. Several people have died.

Ms. Tikhanovskaya, who has taken shelter in Lithuania, insisted that the country’s violation of its international obligations to respect “human dignity and basic human rights... means the international community has a right to react in strongest terms.”

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 3:37:05 AM |

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