Belarus protests: UN human rights chief condemns crackdown
US calls on Belarusian authorities to respect human rights
Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Bigan spoke at the OSCE meeting, condemning election fraud and brutality of the Belarusian authorities towards people defending their rights
The United States has called on the Belarusian authorities to abide by their OSCE election commitments and respect human rights. This is stated in the address of the Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Bigan to the Special Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna.
Speaking at the OSCE meeting, Bigan spoke about his meeting with the candidate from the Belarusian opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
“I was inspired by her courage and determination to defend the Belarusian people in their peaceful demands to choose their government and their own future … She asked my government to respect the sovereignty of Belarus. I assured her that we would do it and that we expect all the other governments here today to do the same, ”Bigan said..
Deputy Secretary of State said that it is clear to the whole world that the elections held on August 9 in Belarus were rigged.
“The United States strongly condemns post-election brutality by the Belarusian authorities against peaceful protesters and journalists, including the mass detention of nearly 7,000 Belarusian citizens, as well as ongoing efforts to block the Internet and use security forces to intimidate those who participate in peaceful demonstrations, protests “, – said Bigan.
He stressed that the United States firmly supports the right of the Belarusian people to demand from their government the observance of the principles advocated by the OSCE: free and fair elections and the protection of human rights. At the same time, the United States does not seek to control or decide the fate of the Belarusian people – it must be decided by the Belarusians themselves, Bigan emphasized..
Stephen Bigan also emphasized the need to release all people unjustly detained in Belarus, including US citizen Vitaly Shklyarov, who still remains in prison, refusing to admit crimes that he did not commit.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also commented on the situation in Belarus.
Speaking on Friday about Putin’s statement about the Russian security forces ready to come to the aid of the Lukashenka regime, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she hoped that “such forces will not be deployed.”.
So far, the West has acted cautiously, balancing its sympathies for the nascent Belarus democratic movement with concerns about provoking Russian interference. EU foreign ministers on Thursday discussed sanctions against 20 representatives of the Belarusian government to force Lukashenko to hold new elections.
Merkel told reporters that she tried to talk to Lukashenko on the phone, but he refused. She said that freedom of expression and the right to protest “must be fought. People need to be allowed to do it themselves, without outside interference – from anywhere. “.
This week Lukashenka accused the West of concentrating troops on the borders of Belarus. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg denied this accusation.
“We respect sovereignty, and NATO is not engaged in building up military power near Belarus,” he said in an interview with Reuters. “We call on Russia to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of an independent country – Belarus.”.
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