Following the publication of an independent OSCE report, which confirmed the “falsifications” and exposed the extent of human rights violations committed by the Belarusian authorities, UK Foreign Secretary Dominik Raab called for new presidential elections to be held in Belarus.
As noted in a statement published on the Foreign Ministry website, the UK expressed early concern about the conduct of the elections and the horrific repression that followed. In September, the UK imposed landmark sanctions on Alexander Lukashenko, his son and senior Belarusian government officials as part of the UK’s new human rights sanctions regime in response to the torture and ill-treatment of hundreds of peaceful protesters in custody.
Findings of today’s independent report into Belarusian elections presented @OSCE are a damning indictment of Lukashenko’s regime. Essential that its recommendations are carried out & fresh elections held. We will continue to stand with the Belarusian people in their hour of need
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) November 5, 2020
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We pushed for this independent investigation and it has exposed the fraud at the heart of the presidential elections and the despicable actions taken by Lukashenko’s regime to suppress the Belarusian people. New elections which are free and fair must now be organised, and those responsible for the violence against demonstrators held to account.”
In September, the UK, together with 16 international partners, launched the Moscow Mechanism at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which initiated an investigation by an independent human rights rapporteur into electoral fraud and gross violations of the rights of the Belarusian people.
The independent OSCE investigation concluded there is overwhelming evidence that:
- the elections were falsified;
- the Belarusian authorities committed massive and systematic human rights violations in response to peaceful demonstrations and protests;
- there is a climate of impunity and no one has been held accountable for torture and inhumane treatment by the security forces;
- the freedom of the media and the safety of journalists are under sustained attack by the Belarusian regime.
“The UK condemns the efforts made by the Belarusian regime to undermine the independent investigation, including its refusal to cooperate with the fact finding mission or to allow the mission to enter Belarus. We strongly encourage Belarus to reverse its decision and engage constructively with the OSCE,” the statement reads.
The UK will continue to work with international allies to defend democracy, media freedom and human rights in Belarus. The UK supports the recommendations of the OSCE report and calls on the government of Belarus to hold new presidential elections, immediately end the violence, release all those unjustly detained, investigate allegations of torture and take action to ensure humane conditions in detention.