- Tikhanovskaya called for the UN’s full intervention in Belarus by the use of all mechanisms to stop violence.
- She also implored the UN to “condemn the excessive use of force” against protesters by the security forces.
- She further asked for international observers to be sent immediately to document the situation on the ground.
Belarusian opposition leader and former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has today implored the United Nations Security Council to employ the use of “all mechanisms,” including sanctions, to end the Lukashenko-led administration’s “violence” and “human rights violations.”
Tikhanovskaya, while addressing the UN during an informal meeting via video-conference, called for the UN’s full intervention in Belarus by the use of all mechanisms to stop violence, including sanctions on individuals who have committed electoral violations and crimes against humanity.
She also implored the UN to “condemn the excessive use of force” against protesters by the security forces, and convene a special session of the Human Rights Council to discuss the crisis in the country following the presidential elections of August 9. The opposition has condemned the vote as rigged and President Alexander Lukashenko’s thirst for power.
“A nation cannot and should not be hostage to one man’s thirst for power. Belarusians have woken up, the point of no return is passed,” she told the UN informal meeting which was called by Estonia, one of Lithuania’s Baltic neighbors.
Following the release of official results, which gave President Lukashenko a sixth term in office with 80% of the vote, anti-government protests broke out in the capital, Minsk, and in several cities in the country.
Lukashenko, who has led the former Soviet republic of 9.5 million inhabitants for 26 years in an autocratic style, has accused the demonstrators of being “puppets” of the West. In the early days of protests, the police detained some 7,000 people and cracked down upon hundreds in a brutal manner, sparking international protests and threats of sanctions.
Tikhanovskaya, 37, also asked for international observers to be sent immediately to document the situation on the ground, and added that the opposition was demanding an end to the police brutality, the immediate release of all political prisoners, and a free and fair election.
“The authorities must release all those arbitrarily arrested,” she said. “The government is waging an insane war against its own people.” She also condemned any forms of collaboration with the Lukashenko-led administration, stating that it means support for violence.
“Collaboration with the regime of Lukashenko means support for violence.” She added, “Lukashenko doesn’t represent Belarus anymore.”
The US, European Union, and several neighboring countries of Belarus rejected the recent election victory of Lukashenko, and condemned the police brutality in trying to halt the protests.
Last month EU leaders agreed to impose sanctions– including asset freezes– on top Belarusian government officials, which it hasn’t mentioned yet. The said officials are accused in their involvement in alleged election-rigging, brutality, and illegal imprisonment of peaceful protesters. The exact sanctions are still being worked out, however.
The Belarusian opposition calls for the end of repression, the release of political prisoners, and calls for the international community to recognize Tikhanovskaya’s legitimacy as the legally-elected president of Belarus.