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English Section

In UN speech, Polish president tells Belarus to ditch 'policy of oppression', calls on Russia to free Navalny

22.02.2021 14:00
In an address to the United Nations, Poland’s president on Monday urged the authorities in neighbouring Belarus to ditch a "policy of oppression" against its citizens, while also calling on Russia to free Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and his associates.
Polish President Andrzej Duda.
Polish President Andrzej Duda.Photo: Eliza Radzikowska-Białobrzewska/KPRP

Addressing the virtual 46th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, Andrzej Duda said that following disputed presidential elections in their country, thousands of Belarusians took to the streets to exercise their basic democratic rights.

He said that the scale of repression by the Belarusian regime "that followed was more than alarming."

He added that "the international community cannot remain silent" and that "every country has to fulfill its obligations" under international human rights law.

"I call on the Belarusian authorities to move away from the policy of oppression to the policy of dialogue," Duda stated.

'Path of political repression' in Russia

The Polish president said in his pre-recorded speech that Belarus was not the only country in the region "whose authorities follow a path of political repression against its society."

He said that Russia has seen "massive detentions of peaceful protesters, who had gathered to express their support for Alexei Navalny and his co-workers."

"They are not known by their names; and their fate remains unknown in many cases, but we can judge from experience that it might be tragic," Duda said.

He warned that "restoration of the 'business-as-usual' approach to Russia, and expecting it would influence the Kremlin’s behavior, is naïve."

He told his UN audience: "It is not what proper dialogue means. Proper dialogue implies that certain standards have to be upheld. And in case of Russia, these standards are not improving – they are deteriorating."

'Release Alexei Navalny'

Duda appealed to the authorities in Moscow to free jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

"I call upon the Russian authorities to realize their international obligations and therefore release Alexei Navalny and his detained supporters," Duda said.

Duda also said in his remote address that the international community should "continue paying close attention to the dire situation of human rights in the territories of Ukraine being under control of Russian occupation forces or Russia-backed separatists."

He added: "Poland clearly reconfirms its support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine within the internationally recognized borders."

The Polish president in September last year urged global solidarity in the face of challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic and support for his country’s protest-riven eastern neighbour Belarus in a major address to the UN General Assembly.


Source: PAPpresident.pl