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United Nations

Australian statement for the Interactive Dialogue OHCHR Oral Update on Belarus, 24 September 2021

Human Rights Council – 48th session

Interactive Dialogue OHCHR Oral Update on Belarus

24 September 2021

Australian Statement

Australia thanks the High Commissioner and her office for their oral update. We note with deep sadness and concern the recent anniversary of flawed presidential elections in Belarus, and the arrest of human rights defenders in July 2021. We have also witnessed the regrettable erosion of media independence in Belarus.

Australia calls for the immediate release of all those arbitrarily detained for exercising their legitimate rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom of association. We urge Belarusian authorities to respect the rights and legitimate democratic aspirations of its people.

Australia looks forward to the outcomes of the investigation by the International Civil Aviation Organization Council into the military interception of Ryanair Flight FR4978 in May 2021.

Australia also stands with its European partners in condemning those in Belarus who have facilitated the movement of desperate migrants across borders to apply pressure on neighbouring states.

We request an update on the likelihood of the OHCHR and relevant Special Procedures Mandate Holders being allowed to visit Belarus to undertake an on-the-ground assessment of the human rights situation.

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