Statement by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on Belarus

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A year ago today, the Belarusian people tried to make themselves heard and to shape their own future through the most basic expression of democracy – an election. Instead of respecting the clear will of the Belarusian people, the Lukashenka regime committed electoral fraud, followed by a brutal campaign of repression to suppress dissent. From the detention of thousands of peaceful protesters, to the detention of more than 500 activists, civil society leaders and journalists as political prisoners, to forcing the diversion of an international flight in violation of global norms, the actions of the Lukashenka regime are an illegitimate attempt at hold on to power at all costs. It is the responsibility of all those who care about human rights, free and fair elections and freedom of expression to oppose this oppression. The United States will continue to advocate human rights and free expression while holding the Lukashenka regime accountable with our allies and partners. To this end, today we are enacting a new executive order that will improve our ability to impose costs on the regime and announce new sanctions against Belarusian individuals and organizations for their role in attacks on democracy and human rights, transnational repression and corruption. As I said to the leader of the Belarusian opposition, Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, we stand by the Belarusian people in the courageous pursuit of their democratic aspirations.

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