US and other countries issue a joint statement on Internet shutdowns in Belarus

The US government together with 28 other countries have issued a joint statement to the government of Belarus regarding the persisting Internet shutdowns instituted by authorities in Belarus. The signatories to the statement spelt out their worries and unreservedly condemned the continuous use of partial and complete Internet shutdowns by the government of Belarus following the country’s disputed presidential elections in August.The statement further echoed the fact that restricting the use of the Internet affects the fundamental rights of assembly and expression by citizens, and called on the government to be committed to safeguarding human rights both online and offline. The signatories concluded by calling on the government of Belarus ‘to respect civic space, including respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law’. They also called for an independent, transparent and impartial investigation into all alleged human rights violations that occurred during the protests following the elections.