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UN Special Rapporteur Slams Belarus Government For Crackdown On Dissent

Miklos Haraszti, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Belarus (file photo)
Miklos Haraszti, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Belarus (file photo)

The United Nations Special Rapporteur Miklos Haraszti has criticized the Belarusian government for resuming a "severe crackdown on peaceful protesters."

Haraszti said in a June 14 statement that in February and March, Belarusian authorities "arbitrarily detained" more than 1,000 people, "showing that Belarus returned to its practice of silencing those who make use of their basic civil rights."

In February and March, thousands of Belarusians took to the streets to protest an unpopular labor law introducing the taxation of what it called "social parasites" -- unemployed people. The rallies were the largest antigovernment demonstrations in Belarus in years.

Haraszti said that it was vital that the international scrutiny of Belarus continue, as the severe crackdown on peaceful protesters and the lack of efforts to reform the laws and policies underlying the recurring oppression had revealed the "cyclical" nature of human rights abuses in Belarus.

Haraszti also said the fact that Belarus has stepped up its use of the death penalty also proves Minsk's cyclical approach to human rights.

"In 2016 only, Belarus executed four individuals, which is the highest number since 2008," he said.

Haraszti also stressed the potential for a new set of political prisoners, another recurring issue in Belarus.

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