UN rights chief condemns Belarus response to protests


The United Nations human rights chief on Wednesday condemned the violent response of authorities in Belarus to peaceful demonstrations across the country following the presidential election and called for people's grievances to be heard.

"I remind the Belarusian authorities that the use of force during protests should always be exceptional and a measure of last resort, clearly differentiating between any violent individuals and peaceful protesters, against whom force should not be used," said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

She said that reports suggest that approximately 6,000 people have been detained in the last three days, including bystanders and minors.

This suggests a trend of massive arrests in clear violation of international human rights standards and "even more disturbing are the reports of ill-treatment during and after detention," said Bachelet.

The protests continued after incumbent Alexander Lukashenko was declared the winner of Sunday's presidential election, his sixth term in office with over 80% of the vote, said the country's election commission.