Press Release

The UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus calls on authorities to take immediate measures to prevent any instances of torture or other ill-treatment in detention

14 August 2020

  • The UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus, Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki, expressed serious concern about the allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in detention, including of minors, which have emerged after the elections on 9 August and following the release of a high number of detainees on the night of 13 August.
The UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki
Caption: The UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki
Photo: © UN in Belarus

“Torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment are absolutely prohibited and can never be justified. While we welcome the release of many individuals from detention last night, the testimonies by a number of former detainees about their treatment in custody are deeply troubling. If confirmed, these reports would point to systemic problems in the management and oversight of detention facilities in Belarus”, — said Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki.

The UN Resident Coordinator requested an urgent meeting with the Minister of Interior to discuss human rights concerns, focusing on the treatment of individuals in places of deprivation of liberty, the enjoyment of freedom of peaceful assembly in Belarus, and to offer broader UN System capacity support and other assistance. She has also requested access for the UN to visit two detention facilities in Minsk to see the conditions of detention there.

The UN Resident Coordinator called on the authorities to take immediate measures to prevent any instances of torture or other ill-treatment in detention. In addition, she urged the authorities to ensure that detainees, as well as those released from detention, receive adequate medical care, including rehabilitation and psychosocial support. As relevant, this assistance should address the specific needs of children and young people victims of torture or other ill-treatment, or who have witnessed violence. 

“As we receive increasing numbers of reports of torture and other ill-treatment, it will be important to ensure that when possible these are well documented, also to allow for the prompt, thorough and impartial investigation of and future accountability for such acts. Timely medical examinations will be crucial in this regard, alongside the important work of human rights organizations gathering information on these cases”, — said Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki.

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