Statement by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen in the Security Council AOB on Belarus, November 11

11.11.2020 - Speech

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Let me begin by saying that we think it is absolutely unjustified and another blatant attempt to undermine independent observation of ongoing human rights violations that two UK diplomats were expelled from Belarus. In Russia's intervention, it was questioned why Belarus is on the agenda. Let me try to explain why we believe that it belongs on the agenda of the Security Council.

First, we saw again last weekend an increasing level of violence against peaceful protesters. When you look at the agenda of the Security Council, on many of the issues that we are discussing here, conflict started because of violence against peaceful protesters. Last weekend, more than one thousand peaceful protesters were arbitrarily arrested and detained.

We are also alarmed by severe human rights violations, including excessive violence and torture against detainees. We have heard examples just now by the US Permanent Representative. In Syria for example, we have widespread torture, and Syria is on the agenda of the Security Council because human rights violations led to conflict. And we need to continue to discuss it. In Belarus there is not one single legal investigation against members of security forces. Many documented allegations by many victims have been entirely rejected. There is no accountability! We know from around the world, where there is no accountability for violations of human rights violations and there is conflict, it belongs on the agenda of the Security Council. When media freedom is under fire, there are attacks on journalists. Even some journalists from Germany were arbitrarily arrested in Belarus. It is an integral part of the Belarusian regime's systematic repression of its people and their legitimate aspirations. These kind of attacks lead to conflict and need to be discussed by us in the Security Council.

Russia mentioned that Belarus is part of the Union State, and that its obligations within this union justify what Russia is doing. I would like to remind you of what colleagues have mentioned:  Belarus is not only a member of the Union State, it is also a member state of the OSCE and therefore also obliged to follow its rules. Belarus' refusal to cooperate with the rapporteur [on human rights as established by the Moscow Mechanism] is a violation of its OSCE commitments. Belarus also refuses to invite the leadership of the OSCE. What Prof. Wolgang Benedek's report said about the presidential elections also confirms the excessive use of force by police. I call for the immediate and unconditional release of all unlawfully detained people.

Pointing to the obligations that Belarus has under its OSCE membership and discussing the situation on the Security Council is not interference. It is just a reminder of its obligations and pointing to blunt violations of OSCE commitments. On the contrary, there is ample proof of active Russian engagement in Belarus. For instance, through the dispatching of Russian media experts replacing those journalists in Belarusian state media who decided to no longer participate in spreading propaganda. So now that Lukashenko’s propaganda is being spread by Russian journalists. In the union treaty, I don't see anything about the right of one member state to spread propaganda in another one. It is very good that the Security Council deals with the situation in Belarus.


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