The United Nations Country Team in Belarus statement on detentions of Belarusian civil society representatives
14 July 2021
The United Nations Country Team in Belarus has been following with great concern reports of detentions of civil society representatives.
The United Nations Country Team in Belarus (UNCT) has been following with great concern reports of detentions of civil society representatives and searches in the offices of a wide range of civil society organizations, charity projects and private apartments of individual activists undertaken on 14 July 2021.
As recently noted by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in a statement at the 47th session of the Human Rights Council, the situation in Belarus “continues to deteriorate, with severe restrictions on civic space, including the rights to freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association; raids against civil society and independent media; and the judicial persecution of human rights activists and journalists”.
The UNCT calls on the Belarusian authorities to safeguard legal rights of organizations and individuals under investigation and to enable civil society organizations and individual activists to conduct their activities free from harassment and intimidation, in line with the obligations of Belarus under human rights law.
Some organizations searched today are members of the national Sustainable Development Council and its Partnership Group for Sustainable Development, playing an important role in provision of essential services and assistance to vulnerable populations. The UNCT is concerned that such actions negatively affect cooperation and the spirit of equal partnership between the state and civil society, which is necessary for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Agenda 2030.
The UNCT believes that partnerships between different segments of society are key to achieving the SDGs. Creating and protecting a free and enabling environment for civil society, working with civil society organizations, developing their capacity and using their expertise and knowledge while maintaining open and respectful dialogue on all issues is the basis for national progress in the area of sustainable development. Only development that is human-centered and respectful of the rights of all stakeholders, organizations and individuals alike, can be sustainable.
The UN stands ready to facilitate dialogue between all partners with the view of continuing the engagement and restoring cooperation on key development priorities of Belarus.