Shaheen statement in response to the latest crackdown on Belarusian media by the Lukashenka regime


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July 16, 2021

(Washington, DC) – US Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and chair of the Europe and Regional Security Cooperation SFRC sub-committee, issued the following statement in response to reports that the Belarusian authorities raided the office of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty in Minsk, as well as the homes of journalists, and arrested several members of the press.

“Lukashenka’s growing aggression against the free media and the political opposition must be the subject of fierce rebuke and condemnation by the international community. Lukashenka cannot be allowed to criminalize journalists and the media, which are not only an essential part of democracy, but also a deeply respected value in international society. The United States has already demonstrated and must continue to remind Lukashenka and his thugs that we are watching and that there will be consequences for this belligerent behavior ”, said Shaheen. “I stand alongside Belarusian journalists who risk their lives to shed light on the truth and for the Belarusian people who continue to raise their voices to demand an accountable and transparent government. The United States stands alongside those fighting for a free and democratic future in Belarus.

Senator Shaheen appealed to Congress to increase international pressure against the Lukashenka dictatorship and ongoing human rights violations. Senator Shaheen recently returned from Eastern Europe, notably to Lithuania where she met Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya to discuss the continued human rights violations by the Lukashenka regime against the political opposition. Last month, Shaheen praised the Biden administration’s decision to impose sanctions on Belarusian individuals and entities to hold the Lukashenka regime accountable for its aggression. Shaheen recently wrote an op-ed in USA today why the West must unite to resolve the political situation in Belarus. A congressional leader in favor of reaffirming the United States’ role on the world stage, strengthening its relationship with the transatlantic community, and supporting pro-democracy reform around the world, Shaheen re-established the bipartisan group NATO observers in the Senate with Senator Thom Tillis. (R-NC) in 2018.

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