2021-09-22
The UN General Assembly Hall. Photo: wikimedia.org

The 76th session of the UN General Assembly is being held in New York. Belarus was one of the topics raised for discussion by the leaders of several foreign countries.

US President Joe Biden said in his speech that the democratic world lives in peaceful demonstrations in Belarus: “The future lies with those who unleash the potential of peoples, not suppress it. The future will belong to those who let the people breathe freely, not to those who strangle their peoples. Authoritarian rulers claim that the world is done with democracy. However, they are mistaken. The truth is that the democratic world everywhere lives in anti-corruption activists, human rights activists, journalists, peaceful demonstrators in Belarus, Myanmar, Cuba, Venezuela, and other countries.”

President of Poland Andrzej Duda said that about 150,000 Belarusians had recently relocated to Poland and called on the world community to express greater solidarity with Belarusians: “I say all this as the leader of the country, where about 150 thousand Belarusians received asylum and employment, including thousands of protesters. I recently told our Belarusian brothers that they were welcome and that Poland would be their home for as long as they deemed it appropriate and necessary. I firmly adhere to these words.”

Andrzej Duda noted that since August 2020 thousands of Belarusians have been facing truncheons, tear gas and even bullets in peaceful protests. Duda also informed the General Assembly about the sentences handed down to Maria Kalesnikava and Maksim Znak and mentioned the representatives of Polish minorities – Andżelika Borys and Andrzej Poczobut – detained by the Belarusian authorities, and hundreds of other political prisoners. “We demand their release and greater solidarity of the international community with the people of Belarus, who just want an honest state, an honest democracy,” he said. Duda also accused the Belarusian authorities of organizing a migration crisis on the borders with the European Union.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda in his speech called for pressure on the Belarusian regime. He accused Minsk of a hybrid attack, organized in the form of a migration crisis, and also touched upon the operation of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. Nausėda believes that the actions of the Belarusian authorities can have an impact on international security. He recalled the incident with the Ryanair aircraft, comparing it with an act of state-sponsored terrorism. “Lithuania has been facing an unprecedented hybrid attack for several months. By artificially creating and directing flows of illegal migration, Belarus seeks to exert political pressure on the European Union,” the press service of the Lithuanian president reports. Nausėda said that Lithuania strongly rejected this attempt to sow discord and called on the UN to address the issue.

President of Latvia Egils Levits called for new, free presidential elections in Belarus with the presence of international observers. “Over the past year, Latvia has also closely followed the dramatic developments in its neighboring country, Belarus, where society’s attempts to make a decision about the future of its country have been brutally suppressed. Latvia strongly condemns the actions of the Lukashenko regime against Belarusian civil society, independent media and journalists,” Levits said.

President of Slovakia Zuzana Čaputová also raised the Belarusian issue. “We must make democracy more sustainable by supporting those who fight for fundamental rights, including freedom of expression and the right to assemble. Citizens should have the right to freedom of expression, especially in Belarus, where 650 people are persecuted in political courts, or in the occupied Crimea, Venezuela, Russia,” Čaputová said.