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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)
News article15 July 20211 min read

Belarus: Statement by the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell on the crackdown against civil society

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On Wednesday, the Belarusian regime carried out a further wide-scale attack on independent voices in the country. The raids on private houses and offices targeted a long list of human rights, educational and political groups and organisations, charities and think-tanks. Human rights defenders and other activists have been arrested.

This new wave of repression is yet another proof that the Lukashenko regime is waging a systematic and well-orchestrated campaign with the ultimate aim to silence all remaining dissident voices and suppress civic space in Belarus. By cracking down on its own society, the Lukashenko regime has further deepened the rift with the Belarusian people.

The EU calls on the authorities in Belarus to adhere to country’s international commitments and obligations to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms. We demand the immediate release of detained human rights defenders as well as of other political prisoners whose numbers rise constantly, now being more than 550. The regime must halt the repression and hold perpetrators to account. The EU will continue to support international accountability initiatives, including under the UN HRC and the International Accountability Platform for Belarus.

The severe violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms come at a price. The EU is ready to consider further restrictive measures in line with its gradual approach. The EU will continue to do whatever it takes to support the people of Belarus. We will continue to stand with all human rights defenders, and independent voices and all the people oppressed in Belarus.


Publication date
15 July 2021