The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has called the situation of migrants trying to get from Belarus to countries of the European Union “deplorable” and called on all parties to fulfill their obligations as the top priority.
“Thousands of people have fled Belarus since the Belarusian elections in 2020” and Bachelet used his presentation this Friday in Geneva to remind “all governments” of the right to seek asylum or other forms of international protection, in full debate on the Increase in the migratory flows to the EU countries.
This upswing can be attributed to political decisions, as the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko had already warned at the end of May not to prevent the transit of migrants and refugees in retaliation for the sanctions imposed on Minsk last year.
For Bachelet, the confirmed deaths on the border between Belarus and Poland in the last few days show the “pathetic” situation in which these people find themselves. For this reason, he has requested access to the border areas for humanitarian organizations, journalists and lawyers to monitor the situation in person.
In May, the High Commissioner appointed three experts to analyze the Belarusian case, but so far she has not found the slightest cooperation from the Lukashenko regime, which has always described any hint of outside control as interference.
Bachelet’s office estimates that more than 650 people were arrested “for their opinions”, including opposition politicians, journalists, activists and demonstrators. The former Chilean president quoted 129 civil organizations that were closed until August and asked whether portals like “Tut.by”, which are linked to the opposition, are branded as “extremist”.
“I am deeply concerned about the increasing restrictions on civil space and fundamental freedoms,” lamented Bachelet, recalling cases such as Roman Protasevich, who was arrested after the rerouting of the plane on which he traveled from Greece to Lithuania last year Can.
She has also admitted “concerned” about allegations of torture, “systematic” ill-treatment and sexual violence following “arbitrary arrests” and regretted that no “impartial investigations” had been launched to investigate these and other abuses that led to the controversial elections August 2020, in which Lukashenko won his sixth term on fraud allegations.
The protests resulted in hundreds of detainees and, as Bachelet recalled, “at least four protesters died”.