High treason charges, new anti-LGBTQI+ legislation and progress against impunity

Protesters are detained by police in central Istanbul, Turkey, on 26 June 2021, as hundreds of LGBTQI+ activists defied a ban and tried to stage a gay pride event. BÜLENT KıLıÇ/AFP via Getty Images

A black hole for media freedom

  • IFEX members issue a joint call to the international community to make respect for press freedom a cornerstone of all demands made towards Belarus. The statement also calls for the use of targeted sanctions on individual members of the Lukashenka regime (so as to avoid inflicting the harm that blanket sanctions might have on the Belarusian people), and for increased support to threatened journalists in Belarus.
  • The UK, US, Canada and the EU working in parallel to impose sanctions against 11 individuals and 2 entities of the Belarusian regime. The sanctions come in response to the detention of Pratasevich and Sofia Sapega.
  • IFEX members and other rights groups calling — ahead of the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council — for the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus.
  • Human Rights House Foundation, PEN America, and the Permanent Mission of Lithuania to the UN in Geneva organise a webinar, ‘Media Under Attack in Belarus’. Speakers included the UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus, numerous foreign ministers from central and eastern Europe, ambassadors and other experts. You can view a video of the event online.
  • Forty-seven civil NGOs call on the food manufacturer Nestlé to stop advertising on Belarusian state television (1 in 3 paid commercials on state TV are paid for by Nestlé).
  • UN experts describe Belarus as a “black hole” for media freedom, call for all journalists and rights activists to be released, and express “serious concern” about recent amendments to the Mass Media Law and the Law on Mass Gatherings, which impose draconian restrictions on journalists and protesters.
  • The EPP Group (the largest and oldest group in the European Parliament) call for the establishment of an international tribunal to try President Lukashenka and others for their role in the repression of Belarusian citizens.
  • Belarus’s government impose tighter restrictions in order to make it more difficult for Belarusians to leave the country. Although the new rules were ostensibly introduced to stop the spread of COVID-19, the authorities have been concerned for some time by the prospect of a mass flight of medical professionals, IT experts and other high-skilled workers.

“I can’t breathe”

In brief

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IFEX is a global network of organisations that defend and promote the right to freedom of expression and information. Email: info@ifex.org

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IFEX

IFEX

IFEX is a global network of organisations that defend and promote the right to freedom of expression and information. Email: info@ifex.org

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