U.S. hints at further sanctions on Belarus

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Washington hinted at the possibility of further economic sanctions against Belarus in a strongly worded speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday.

The United States announced targeted sanctions against key members of the Belarusian government in May after the former Soviet republic’s forced landing of a passenger jet and arrest of a journalist on board.

“Such contempt for international norms cannot go unanswered,” said the U.S. delegate, describing the incident as “sickening”. “We will consider further actions as necessary,” he added, in reference to sanctions.

The forced grounding of a passenger plane in Minsk shows the Belarussian government’s wish to end all forms of dissidence, the U.N. Special Rapporteur told the Human Rights Council on Monday, comparing its tactics with those of totalitarian states.

Anaïs Marin told the Geneva-based forum that the forced landing of a passenger jet in Minsk which led to the arrest of an onboard journalist in May “illustrates the desire of authorities to end all forms of dissidence by purging society of elements it considers undesirable.”

“It is a form of purge that recalls those practised by totalitarian states,” she continued in a speech where she described a “deteriorating” situation in the former Soviet state.