4,644 complaints had been filed with the Investigative Committee on the use of violence and anti-riot equipment by law enforcement officers during the protests. For more than 1,050 of those complaints, the Committee decided not to open criminal cases. This is stated in the information note received by the UN representatives from the Belarusian authorities.
The information was announced by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council with a report on Belarus.
“The Government’s information note with respect to our report, which we received on 10 February, indicates that “the preliminary investigation bodies received 4,644 complaints about the use of physical force and special measures by the personnel of interior affairs interrupting unsanctioned protest actions”. However, it goes on to observe that over 1,050 of these complaints were rejected.
It offers no information regarding the number of security personnel – if any – who have been investigated or charged for excessive or unnecessary use of force. From other sources, we understand that not one of the hundreds of complaints for acts of torture and ill-treatment, which the report mentions, had led to the opening of a criminal case, prior to our cut-off date of 20 December,” she said.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stressed that the human rights situation in Belarus has further deteriorated, the systematic crackdown against protestors continues. Besides, the UN is concerned that legislative amendments currently in preparation enable harsher punishments for participation in peaceful demonstrations.
“I am worried by increased targeting of journalists and human rights defenders both institutionally and individually. Just last week, large-scale searches of human rights defenders, journalists, and organizations such as the Belarusian Association of Journalists and Viasna were conducted, reportedly in connection with criminal investigations for ‘mass disorder,'” Bachelet noted.
Bachelet urged the country’s authorities to comply with “all human rights obligations” and release all those who have been detained for peacefully exercising their rights. In addition, she recommended a comprehensive reform of the national legal framework.
Thorough, effective, credible and transparent investigations should be conducted into all allegations of serious human rights violations, with perpetrators brought to justice. There should be an immediate end to the policy of harassment and intimidation of civil society and media workers,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated.