In his speech to the UN Human Rights Council, Polish President Andrzej Duda stated that as a leader of a Central European state, he wanted to draw attention to the alarming situation in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.
He underlined that the scale of repression from the Belarusian government following the protests after the 2020 presidential elections was a serious concern that the international community could not remain silent about. Instead, it must fulfil its obligations under international human rights law. Duda called for Belarusian authorities to end their policy of oppression and move towards one of dialogue.
The president added that in addition to Belarus, Russia was also using political repression against its own society.
“This has been clearly presented by the Russian Federation in massive detentions of peaceful protesters who 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,” he said.
The Polish president warned that a return to “business as usual” relations with Moscow and expecting it to influence the Kremlin’s behavior was naïve.
He also called on Russian authorities to fulfil their international obligations and free Navalny along with his arrested supporters.
Moreover, Duda pointed out that the international community should closely observe the fatal human rights situation in the Ukrainian regions currently occupied by Russian forces or Russian-supported separatists.
In context of the pandemic, the president said that the spread of COVID-19 and attempts to stop it are the most important challenge for the international community. He noted that COVID-19 has brought the issue of health care, public health and health security to the level of basic human rights.