Belarus: UN calls on authorities to ensure well-being of detained rights defender

5 August 2011

The United Nations today voiced its concern about the arrest of the prominent Belarusian human rights defender Ales Bialatski and called on authorities to guarantee his well-being.

Mr. Bialatski is the President of Viasna, a human rights centre, and Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights. He was arrested yesterday in the capital, Minsk, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

“His whereabouts were initially unknown but it is now confirmed that he is in police custody,” Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for OHCHR in Geneva, told reporters.

“Given the many worrying reports of harassment of human rights defenders in Belarus, we call on the authorities to guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of [Mr.] Bialatski and all human rights defenders in Belarus,” she stated.

Ms. Shamdasani recalled that the Government of Belarus is obliged, by the international treaties which it has ratified, to ensure respect for the rights and freedoms of human rights defenders.

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