Belarus: ICJ joins NGOs at UN to condemn attacks on lawyers

Today, the ICJ joined IBAHRI, Human Rights House Foundation and the OMCT in a statement before the UN Human Rights Council condemning human rights violations against lawyers in the country.

The joint statement delivered during the debate on the outcome of the UPR of Belarus reads as follows:

“The IBAHRI, the International Commission of Jurists, the Human Rights House Foundation and the OMCT would like to echo concerns that have been raised during the UPR review and are reflected in the UPR outcome document.

We strongly condemn the numerous, widespread human rights violations committed in the aftermath of the 2020 Belarus Presidential election, in particular:

  1. First The disproportionate use of force by security forces against peaceful protestors, the arbitrary arrest and detention of thousands of people, systematic torture and ill-treatment following arrest or during detention, reports of enforced disappearances and denied access to a lawyer.
  2. Second – The systematic control of the executive over the judiciary and the court system.  The judiciary continues to selectively use legislation to intimidate dissenting voices and tightly controls the licensing and activities of lawyers working under threat of being targeted.
  3. Third – The Illegal and arbitrary restrictions to fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right to peaceful assembly, free expression and access to information. From violent targeting of journalists and the media, to state sanctioned internet shutdowns resulting in censorship.

Therefore, we urge Belarus to:

  • Immediately and unconditionally release all individuals arbitrarily detained and stop any practices of torture and ill-treatment of detainees;
  • Undertake impartial, independent, effective and prompt investigations into allegations of human rights abuses;
  • Bring perpetrators to justice, ensuring effective remedy and reparation for victims;
  • Allow professionals – including legal and media professionals – to conduct their work without fear of targeting;
  • Ensure respect and practice for all human rights, including free expression, online and offline, providing unconstrained access to information for all; lastly
  • Adopt all necessary measures to prevent further human rights violations, without delay.”


Massimo Frigo, ICJ UN Representative, e: massimo.frigo(a), t: +41797499949

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