President appeals to UNHRC for response to Belarus crisis

2020-08-12 15:58 update: 2020-08-13, 16:02
Polish President Andrzej Duda. Phot. PAP/Radek Pietruszka
Polish President Andrzej Duda. Phot. PAP/Radek Pietruszka
President Andrzej Duda in a Wednesday letter to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appealed to the council to call on Belarusian authorities to refrain from violence against demonstrators and release arrested demonstrators.

In the letter, Duda wrote that the UNHRC member states could not remain indifferent to the deteriorating situation in Belarus, and should undertake steps in the matter.

Duda wrote that the UNHRC's response should "include an appeal to the Belarusian government to refrain from using violence against peaceful demonstrators and to release all held under arrest for making use of their fundamental democratic freedoms."

In the letter, Duda also suggested for the UNHRC to call upon Belarusian authorities to free political prisoners and ensure full access to information.

Announcing Duda's letter earlier on Wednesday, his aide Krzysztof Szczerski said the initiative was dictated by "concern for human rights and civil freedoms in Belarus," and Poland's moral duty towards the country. Szczerski added that Duda's letter was intended to "awaken the world" in light of its small interest in the Belarusian events.

The Geneva-seated UNHRC was established by the UN General Assembly on March 15 2006 in place of the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). The UNHRC cooperates closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). (PAP)