UN says Belarus must stop abuse and torture

UN human rights experts have called on Belarus to stop torturing detainees and bring to justice police officers who reportedly have been humiliating and beating protesters in their custody with impunity, a UN press statement says.

UN experts have information on 450 documented cases of torture and ill-treatment of people.

“We are extremely alarmed at the hundreds of allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in police custody,” they said.

The relatives of at least six people are unaware of the whereabouts and health status of their loved ones. The UN also has information on violence against women and children, including sexual violence and rape with rubber truncheons.

“The State must do everything in its power to prevent, investigate and punish any form of abuse, including violence against women, whether those acts are perpetrated by the State or by other actors,” the UN says.

The UN emphasizes that torture cannot be justified by anything and called on the Belarusian authorities to release all illegally detained, as well as to conduct an appropriate investigation into the actions of the security forces.

On September 1, Belarusian human rights activists also published a report on the human rights situation in Belarus for August 2020. Human rights activists state that within a month more than 7,500 citizens were detained for participating in peaceful protests.

The HRC Viasna has documented at least 500 cases of torture against detainees, testifying to their massive and systematic use. At least three protesters died as a result of the use of weapons against them or the failure to provide timely medical assistance, the review notes.