Belarus: UK prepares sanctions for human rights violations | World news

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The UK is preparing sanctions for human rights violations in Belarus, the foreign minister said.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Dominic Raab said Alexander Lukashenko, who was sworn in as president this week in a secret ceremony, has “a lack of legitimacy”.

Mr Raab said Britain did not accept the results of the rigged election and condemned the “brutality” imposed on protesters in Belarus.

Image:
Riot police arrest a man at an opposition rally to protest the presidential inauguration in Minsk,

He told the House of Commons that it was “critical that those responsible for fraudulent elections and human rights violations be held to account”.

He said while the UK was willing to join the EU’s plans for targeted sanctions, the delays in Brussels meant the UK would join other allies in adopting targeted sanctions against those responsible. human rights violations.

He decided to head the foreign affairs office to coordinate with the United States and Canada instead.



Protesters called for President Alexander Lukashenko’s resignation on the sixth weekend of protests.

He said: “In view of the delay and the fraudulent inauguration of Lukashenko, I have asked the sanctions team at the Foreign Ministry to prepare Magnitsky sanctions for those responsible for serious human rights violations.

“We are working in coordination with the United States and Canada to urgently prepare appropriate lists.

“We will apply all the tools at our disposal to hold Lukashenko and his regime to account. ”

Mr Raab told the House of Commons that the UK would double the amount of financial support given to human rights groups, independent media organizations and community groups, to a total of 1.5 million additional pounds over the next two years.

This includes £ 800,000 of support for journalists, especially in Belarus, to help “shed light” on the crackdown in that country.

A man is arrested by police on September 20, 2020 in Minsk on the sidelines of a demonstration called by the opposition movement for the end of the regime of authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko. - Belarusian authorities brought military trucks and barbed wire into central Minsk today ahead of a planned opposition march, a day after police arrested hundreds of demonstrators. (Photo by - / TUT.BY / AFP) (Photo by - / TUT.BY / AFP via Getty Images)
Image:
A man is arrested by police in Minsk on the sidelines of a demonstration called by the opposition movement for the end of the regime of authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko.

Thousands of Belarusians took to the streets of the capital of Minsk and other cities on Wednesday evening to protest against the unexpected inauguration of President Alexander Lukashenko which took place in the morning.

The police fiercely dispersed the crowds; in Minsk, officers used batons and water cannons, injuring dozens. More than 360 protesters were arrested.

He almost follows seven weeks of rallies against the re-election of the authoritarian leader, which, according to the opposition, was rigged.

The EU said Thursday that Lukashenko’s swearing in to a sixth term lacks democratic legitimacy, defies the will of the Belarusian people and will only worsen the country’s political crisis.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell reiterated that the 27-country bloc had failed to recognize the outcome of the August 9 elections that kept Lukashenko in power after 26 years.

He said: “This” inauguration “directly contradicts the will of a large part of the Belarusian population, expressed in numerous peaceful protests unprecedented since the elections, and only serves to further deepen the political crisis in Belarus. ”

On Monday, EU foreign ministers failed to impose sanctions on Belarusian officials suspected of electoral fraud or of participating in a brutal security crackdown on post-election protests, despite calls from Lukashenko’s main opponent to take measures.

Cyprus continues to block sanctions until similar measures are imposed on Turkey for its disputed energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

EU leaders will try to break the deadlock when they meet in Brussels on October 1.

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