OSCE mission to investigate alleged rights violations in Belarus’ presidential election

Seventeen members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have appointed an independent team of experts to investigate alleged rights violations in Belarus’ presidential election in August, Denmark's foreign ministry said on Thursday.

“Basically, the mission is about holding the Belarussian authorities accountable for their gross violations of the right of the people of Belarus to have free and fair elections, fundamental freedoms and a well-functioning rule of law,” Reuters reports Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod as saying.

The team is to investigate reports of persecution of political candidates, journalists and activists as well as excessive use of force against peaceful protesters, illegal detention and torture, and is expected to publish a report within six to eight weeks.

President Alexander Lukashenko says he won re-election fairly and is the victim of a smear campaign by the West.

The OSCE members behind the mission are Denmark, Belgium, Canada, Estonia, Finland, France, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Great Britain, the Czech Republic and the United States. The mission is unlikely to gain access to Belarus.

Image: OSCE

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