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Lithuania and the UN Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists release a Joint Statement on the detention of the journalist Raman Pratasevich, Sofia Sapega

Created: 2021.06.09 / Updated: 2021.06.09 10:34

On June 8, Lithuania, together with the co-chairs of the United Nations Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists, France and Greece, and members of the Group released a Joint Statement  on the detention by the Belarusian authorities of journalist Raman Pratasevich and Sofia Sapega.

We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Raman Pratasevich and Sofia Sapega, as well as other journalists and media workers, and that their human rights and fundamental freedoms be respected. The Group co-chairs strongly condemn the harassment, intimidation, arbitrary arrests and detentions and the prosecution of journalists and media workers, as well as members of the opposition, human rights defenders, and other members of civil society in Belarus. We further condemn any use of torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment as a means to force public confessions. We also express our concern over the recently adopted laws on media and mass events that will further facilitate such harassment and prosecution.

Together we express our profound concern over the deteriorating situation of human rights in Belarus. Reiterating the calls of the UN Secretary-General,  UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Special Procedures mandate holders, we urge the immediate release of all persons detained arbitrarily, independent investigations into all allegations of human rights violations and abuses, access to justice and redress for victims.

Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists was formed in 2016 of the United Nations Member States that were particularly keen to strengthen commitments and raise awareness on the responsibility of Member States to ensure a safe and secure environment for journalists and other media workers to carry out their duties without undue interference or intimidation. 21 UN Member States are currently members of the Group. Permanent Representatives of Lithuania  France and Greece are co-chairs of the group.

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