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UN Human Rights Council Condemns Election-Related Violence

17 June 2011 – The United Nations Human Rights Council today voted to condemn human rights violations before, during and after the presidential elections in Belarus late last year and urged the Government to end what it described as the “persecution” of opposition leaders.

With 21 votes in favour, five against, and 19 abstentions, the Geneva-based Council deplored the human rights violations that took place, “including the use of violence against, arbitrary arrests, detention and the politically motivated conviction of opposition candidates, their supporters, journalists and human rights defenders.”

It also deplores abuses of due process, including the right to a fair trial for those involved in demonstrations on 19 December last year, the day of the election.

The resolution “urges the Government of Belarus to end [the] politically motivated persecution and harassment of opposition leaders, representatives of civil society, human rights defenders, lawyers, independent media, students and those defending them.”

The council also urged Belarus to release all political prisoners, respect freedoms of expression and association, and “cease the detention and expulsion of international monitors.”

Last December UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay voiced deep concern at the violence that erupted after the election, which was won by the incumbent Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

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