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Obama Signs Belarus Human Rights And Democracy Act

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has been criticized for a ruthless crackdown on protests against his controversial reelection in 2009.
WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Barack Obama has signed into law a strengthened sanctions regime for Belarus in response to the government's crackdown on protesters following the controversial reelection of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in 2010.

The Belarus Democracy and Human Rights Act of 2011 expands the list of Belarus officials subject to U.S. visa and financial sanctions to include those involved in the post-election crackdown.

It also requires the U.S. State Department to report to Congress on Belarusian arms sales and internet censoring, and calls on the International Ice Hockey Federation to cancel its plan to hold the 2014 World Ice Hockey Championship in Minsk.

The law, which updates similar 2004 and 2006 legislation, also says it is U.S. policy to "support calls for new presidential and parliamentary elections [in Belarus], conducted in a manner that is free and fair."
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