We share the concern expressed by the International Democrat Union (IDU) about the human rights situation in Belarus. It was disappointing that the September 2012 parliamentary elections were neither free nor fair. Whilst we welcome the improvements to the electoral law made in advance of these elections, they did not go far enough.
The promotion and protection of human rights is at the heart of UK foreign policy. We remain concerned about the Belarusian authorities' treatment of oppositionists, human rights defenders, independent journalists and lawyers, particularly those who remain detained in very difficult conditions, inconsistent with UN standards.
The British Government echo the IDU call on Belarus to release and rehabilitate all political prisoners as soon as possible. We also call on the Belarusian authorities to co-operate fully with the newly appointed UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on Belarus, Miklós Haraszti.