Three years ago, tens of thousands of Belarusians from all walks of life took to the streets to demand change in response to the fraudulent 2020 election. In response to peaceful protests, Belarusian authorities launched a brutal crackdown, with security forces arresting and imprisoning thousands of mothers and fathers, teachers, tradespeople, pensioners and others, many of whom were subjected to torture and ill-treatment. The Lukashenka regime continues its repression, with 1,500 or more people unjustly jailed, mostly for exercising their freedom of expression.
The people of Belarus have shown incredible courage and resilience in the face of these challenges. We commend Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya and the democratic forces as they mark one year since the formation of the United Transition Cabinet. Together Tsikhanouskaya, the United Transition Cabinet, the Coordination Council, and countless journalists, human rights defenders and Belarusians from all segments of society continue to demand free and fair elections and a sovereign and peaceful Belarus. And they have refused to give up hope for a brighter, democratic future.
On this day, the United States joins the people of Belarus in condemning the regime’s human rights abuses. We call on the regime to release and rehabilitate all political prisoners unconditionally; to allow those Belarusians who have fled their country to return home without fear of prosecution or persecution; to end the suppression of civil society, independent media, and all free political discourse; and to allow free and fair elections. We stand with the people of Belarus in their struggle for democracy, and we will continue to support their vision of a free, sovereign, and peaceful Belarus.