STATEMENT BY SECRETARY ANTONY J. BLINKEN
February 18, 2021
The United States remains alarmed by the Lukashenka regime’s continuing violent crackdown on peaceful protesters, pro-democracy activists, and journalists. The February 16 raids on human rights organization Vyasna, the Belarusian Association of Journalists, and independent trade union workers, as well as the February 18 sentencing of journalists Katsiaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova are particularly troublesome.
Today, the U.S. Department of State took action pursuant to Presidential Proclamation (PP) 8015 to impose visa restrictions on 43 Belarusian individuals responsible for undermining Belarusian democracy, making them generally ineligible for entry into the United States. These individuals include: high-ranking justice sector officials; law enforcement leaders and rank-and-file personnel who detained and abused peaceful demonstrators; judges and prosecutors involved in sentencing peaceful protesters and journalists to prison terms; and academic administrators who threatened students for participation in peaceful protests.
Two earlier rounds of designations under PP 8015 imposed visa restrictions on 66 additional individuals who were determined to be responsible for undermining Belarusian democracy. Those individuals included high-ranking Lukashenka regime officials, as well as Russian and Belarusian nationals complicit in hindering the work of independent media and otherwise undermining the integrity of media freedom in Belarus.
The United States continues to support international efforts to independently investigate electoral irregularities in Belarus, the human rights abuses surrounding the election, and the crackdown that has followed. We stand with the brave people of Belarus and support their right to free and fair elections.