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Thank you, Chair.
Germany aligns itself with the EU statement and the cross-regional statement delivered by Lithuania.
We thank the Special Rapporteur for her latest report and for her tireless work to improve the human rights situation in Belarus.
It has been more than a year now since the fraudulent elections in Belarus, elections that mark a turning point in the history of Belarus. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been exercising their right to peaceful protest in the streets of Minsk and all over the country. They are standing up courageously against repression, violence and flagrant human rights violations by the Lukashenko regime. These people are fighting for democracy, free and fair elections, for the rule of law. Germany stands in solidarity with the Belarusian people.
We see how the human rights situation in Belarus deteriorates dramatically. Numerous reports about arbitrary arrests and allegations of serious human rights violations against detainees – including cases of torture – have reached us. Also minors are among the victims of the excessive police violence – this must stop immediately! The recent, unjustified sentencing of Maria Kalesnikava and Maxim Znak starkly illustrates the political instrumentalization of the Belarusian judicial system.
We also condemn the cynical instrumentalization of refugees and migrants, practised by the Lukashenko regime by trafficking them across the EU border in order to put pressure on neighboring countries.
Let me seize this opportunity to call on the Lukashenko regime
- to halt human rights violations immediately and to fully respect all its international human rights obligations,
- to investigate, prosecute and hold to account those responsible for any violations,
- to immediately release all political prisoners,
- and to fully cooperate with the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.
Germany is steadfast in its support for the people of Belarus. We will continue to support international initiatives like the International Accountability Platform for Belarus or the OHCHR-led examination mechanism on Belarus, adopted by the Human Rights Council earlier this year.