UN human rights chief condemns post-electoral violence in BelarusDecember 22nd, 2010 - 3:04 pm ICT by BNO News
UNITED NATIONS (BNO NEWS) — The United Nations human rights chief has voiced deep concern about the violence which erupted after Sunday’s presidential election in Belarus, which included the abduction of opposition candidates.
“I am very much concerned by the use of force against demonstrators who were not participating in hostilities, violence against and abduction of opposition candidates and their supporters, detention of opposition activists and human rights defenders, and searches and harassment of independent non-governmental organizations,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said, amid growing international pressure on Belarus.
The post-election violence lasted until Monday morning and resulted in over 600 arrests, which included foreign journalists, activists, and nine Belarusian opposition presidential candidates. The protests erupted after fraud allegations during the vote counting process.
International observers earlier reported that Sunday’s election failed to give Belarus the necessary new start. In addition, the electoral process was marred with inconsistencies, especially during vote count in which observers assessed almost half of the vote counts monitored as ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’.
According to official election results, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko won re-election with 79.7 percent of the vote. The number was released after all votes had been counted.
Pillay condemned any calls for or resort to violence on the part of some radical factions. Meanwhile, she stressed that “the relevant authorities must fully respect and ensure their political opponents’ rights to peaceful demonstrations and freedom of speech.”
The High Commissioner went on to call for the immediate release of opposition candidates and their supporters who did not call for and were not involved in any violence.
Pillay also called on the Government of Belarus to ensure that human rights defenders, journalists and civil society organizations are free from any harassment. “I urge all parties to refrain from violence and demonstrate full respect for human rights,” Pillay added.
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