GENEVA (5 June 2020) – A group of UN experts today expressed serious concern about an intensified crackdown on civil society in Belarus, saying the country’s government must protect the right to freedom of expression and stop silencing critical voices.

In May, at least 195 people – notably human rights defenders, journalists, bloggers, medical workers and other members of civil society – were arrested for having expressed their views, the experts said, or for having participated in peaceful protests and pickets to collect signatures and nominate candidates for the presidential election, scheduled on 9 August.

“We are gravely concerned that these arrests that are connected with the exercise of the fundamental freedoms of peaceful assembly and freedom of opinion and expression have a chilling effect on civil society, independent journalism and the unhampered expression of dissenting views,” said Anaïs Marin, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus.


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