- "Recently, abductions by unidentified individuals of people associated with the opposition have also been reported," Bachelet said.
- On Sunday, Minsk was a scene of protests as tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest against Lukashenko.
- "We want another country, we want another president," Svetlana Tikhanovskaya reiterated.
Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, noted that she has received alarming reports of the violent and ongoing repression of peaceful demonstrations in Belarus. During its opening session on Monday, the U.N. Human Rights Council approved a proposal on the need for an urgent debate on the human rights situation in Belarus.
The proposal was presented by the European Union. Bachelet has expressed the UN’s grave concern about the ongoing human rights violations in Belarus, notably the reports of arbitrary arrests and torture of peaceful demonstrators by the country’s security forces.
“Thousands of arrests, many of them apparently arbitrary, and hundreds of allegations of torture or ill-treatment, including against children, with some reports indicating sexual violence,” said Bachelet.
“Recently, abductions by unidentified individuals of people associated with the opposition have also been reported . . . There has been limited evidence of any steps by the authorities to address these reports.”
Earlier, the UN Human Rights Council approved a decision to hold an emergency meeting on Belarus on Friday. The request was made by the European Union, and received the support of 25 countries. Two spoke out against it, and 20 abstained.
On Sunday, Minsk was a scene of protests as tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest against the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, despite the crackdown and the arrest of more than 700 protesters.
In some cases, the riot police used stun grenades, and near the Minsk Arena stadium in the Belarusian capital, an officer wearing a ski mask fired several shots into the air, causing panic among the crowd. Groups of protesters tried to build barricades in the middle of the road.
The protest movement that runs through The former Soviet republic has witnessed massive demonstrations since the controversial August 9 election, which Lukashenko claims to have won with 80% of the vote. The election was, however, rejected by the international community and the opposition, terming it a fraudulent election.
The nation’s opposition leader, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, insists that she is the rightful winner of the poll, and wants Lukashenko to vacate office. The opposition and its supporters have vowed that the demonstrations would continue until Lukashenko leaves.
In an interview with France 24 news channel earlier today, Tikhanovskaya insisted that Lukashenko would eventually be haunted out of office, whether he likes it or not, owing to the demonstrator’s determination.
She called on the regime not to engage in a bloody escalation, and said the resignation of Lukashenko as president was a precondition in order to organize “free and fair and transparent” elections. “We want another country, we want another president,” she reiterated.
Meanwhile, Lukashenko, nicknamed Europe’s last dictator, arrived in Russia on Monday to meet with Vladimir Putin and reaffirm his alliance with his main international supporter.