Belarusian Helsinki Committee and Human Rights Advocacy During the 55th Session of the Human Rights Council


The focus of international advocacy efforts lies in the release of political prisoners and the cessation of the incommunicado regime, as well as the establishment of an independent accountability mechanism to facilitate investigation by the OHCHR into the situation in Belarus and the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus.

The Belarusian Helsinki Committee addressed the 55th session of the Human Rights Council. We reminded the Council of the systemic inhumane treatment of political prisoners, the deaths of at least five individuals in custody, and the fact that at least six persons have been held in incommunicado detention for almost a year. We highlighted that the 2024 elections* failed to meet international standards.

Below, you will find the full text of our statement.

In a joint letter sent on March 13, 2024, the Human Rights House Foundation and several international and Belarusian civil society organizations, including the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, urged the member states of the Human Rights Council to support the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus and the establishment of an independent accountability mechanism to build upon and take forward the work of the OHCHR Examination on Belarus.


The text of the statement:

Distinguished President, Excellencies, Colleagues

Human rights situation in Belarus continues to deteriorate. Systemic inhumane treatment of political prisoners which are currently one thousand four hundred twelve persons with those who served sentence freed and new one sentenced often amounts to torture. Since 2020 at least five deaths of dissidents occurred in imprisonment. At least six political prisoners are subjected to incommunicado detention with no information at all about them for almost 12 months.  

Alarming is an emerging trend of criminal prosecution of relatives of political prisoners for accepting help from solidarity funds.

The elections* of deputies of the House of Representatives and local Councils of Deputies held on twenty fifth of February 2024 did not meet international standards for democratic and free elections, and were accompanied by numerous violations of the electoral legislation of Belarus.

We call on the Human Rights Council to urge the Belarusian Government to release all political prisoners and comply with its international human rights obligations.

We also call on the Human Rights Council to establish a fully independent investigative mechanism to collect and preserve evidence of potential international crimes beyond the 2020 elections period, to advance accountability.

Thank you.