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

  • 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
The UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki

“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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Author
Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki
UN
UN Resident Coordinator
Ms. Joanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki assumed the post of the UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus on 15 May 2018. Working in UNDP Headquarters since 2010, first as Division Chief for Western CIS and the Caucasus and later as Head of Country Office, Liaison and Oversight unit, of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and CIS (RBEC) in New York, Ms. Kazana-Wisniowiecki was responsible for cooperation with UN Member States through their Permanent Missions to the UN and supporting management and oversight of 18 UNDP Country Offices across Europe and the CIS region. Previously, Ms. Kazana-Wisniowiecki served as UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Ukraine, where she led the establishment of a large-scale local development progamme. In 2001-2002 she was Assistant Resident Representative of UNDP in Lithuania. She began her career with the UN in the UNDP Country Office in Warsaw, Poland.
RC Joanna
UN entities involved in this initiative
UN
United Nations
UNAIDS
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund
UNHCR
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund
WHO
World Health Organization