(Washington, D.C.) — Representatives Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Joe Wilson (R-SC) introduced a resolution in the U.S. House decrying the Belarusian regime and its brutal suppression of the pro-democracy movement over the past year. The resolution “[c]ondemns Belarusian authorities’ egregious assault on freedom of expression and human rights in Belarus since the August 2020 presidential election.”
The resolution denounces “Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s continued campaign of repression against peaceful protesters, journalists, cultural workers, human rights defenders, trade union activists, political activists, and government critics.” The resolution points to the attacks on civil society in particular, including the forced dissolution of PEN Belarus on August 9.
“Congress has repeatedly shown that it will not flinch in the face of authoritarianism in Belarus. We wholeheartedly endorse this resolution and its clear message of support for the cultural figures, journalists, and public intellectuals who are targeted even extraterritorially by Belarusian authorities,”
said PEN America’s Washington director Nadine Farid Johnson.
“It’s been over a year since the sham presidential election that spawned these inspiring mass protests. The Lukashenka regime’s reign of terror must end. Only the Belarusian people can decide the country’s future, one in which they can speak, write, and express themselves as they wish.”
The resolution also calls for the immediate release of political prisoners, countering online censorship, and for the Biden administration to provide support for survivors of torture and hold Belarusian human rights abusers accountable.
PEN America backed the resolution, along with organizations including Amnesty International USA, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Reporters without Borders.