The human rights situation in Belarus remains serious and is getting worse, the UN special rapporteur for the country said on Tuesday.
Anaïs Marin has warned the UN Human Rights Council that the regime of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko is deliberately purging civil society of its last dissenting voices.
“The situation remains catastrophic,” he stressed. “Unfortunately, it’s getting worse all the time.”
Marin, in office for five years, reminded the Council that he warned him two years ago of the “totalitarian turn” taken by Minsk, witnessed by the “contempt for life and human dignity” during the crackdown on peaceful protesters after a rigged presidential election in 2020.
According to Marin, “the lack of accountability for human rights violations is fueling a climate of fear among the victims and their families.”
In his statementMarin said more than 1,500 people were still detained for political reasons, with a daily average of 17 arbitrary arrests since 2020.
“I have good reason to believe that conditions of detention are deliberately made harsher for politically motivated prisoners by placing them in disciplinary cells for minor violations of prison rules,” he said.
Human rights defenders face continued persecution, he added, and more than 1,600 “undesirable organizations have been forcibly dissolved, including all remaining independent trade unions”.
“This illustrates a deliberate policy by the state to purge the civic space of its last dissident elements,” he continued.
Marin also said that independent media had been labeled “extremist organisations”, while academic freedom was “systematically attacked”.
“Ideological control and disciplinary measures restrict freedom of opinion and expression,” he denounced.
Primary and secondary education are also subject to “ideological scrutiny”, with children “discouraged from expressing their views” and subject to “threats and consequences” for dissenting views.
Belarus was immediately offered the floor at the Human Rights Council to respond, but no representatives were present.