UK to announce human rights sanctions against Belarus

Law enforcement officers try to block students protesting against presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus

Britain is preparing sanctions on individuals allegedly involved in human rights violations in Belarus, working with the United States and Canada to hold President Alexander Lukashenko and his government to account.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the House of Commons in London on Thursday that in light of the European Union”s delay in preparing its own sanctions, the U.K. would join other allies to adopt targeted sanctions against those responsible for human rights abuses.

“We will apply all the tools at our disposal to hold Lukashenko and his regime to account,””” he said.

Thousands of Belarus citizens have taken part in nearly seven weeks of rallies against the authoritarian leader”s reelection, which the opposition says was rigged.

“We are willing to join the EU in adopting targeted sanctions against those responsible for the violence, the repression and the vote-rigging, although the EU process has now been delayed in Brussels,”” Raab said. “Given that delay … we”re co-ordinating with the United States and Canada to prepare appropriate listings as a matter of urgency.”

The EU said Thursday that the swearing in of Lukashenko on Wednesday to a sixth term during a secretive ceremony lacks democratic legitimacy, defies the will of the Belarusian people and will only deepen the country”s political crisis.

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