"That’s enough of that. There won’t be any more silly democracy, muddle-headed democracy in the country.”
President Lukashenka, speaking to journalists on 20 December 2010

On 20 December it was announced that President Alyaksandr Lukashenka had been reelected for his fourth term of office as President of Belarus by 79.7 percent of the votes.

Despite some improvements in the way the electoral campaigning had been conducted during the 2010 presidential elections - greater access to the media was given to opposition candidates - the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) observer mission found that the elections fell short of OSCE commitments. In particular “the vote count (was assessed) as bad and very bad in almost half of all observed polling stations.”

The elections have been followed by a comprehensive clamp down on the opposition. Hundreds of protesters were detained and many beaten by riot police during the violent dispersal of a demonstration on election night. Searches, interrogations and detentions of opposition activists and human rights defenders have continued since, under the pretext of a criminal investigation.

During a press conference following the announcement of his re-election, Alyaksandr Lukashenka claimed that he had thwarted attempts by the opposition to stage a revolution and stated that “the main task of a president is to ensure the security of people, peace and order in the country.” Amnesty International believes that there can be no security without human rights. Events since the elections have highlighted that the people of Belarus are exposed to the risk of arbitrary detention, ill-treatment at the hands of law-enforcement officers, and violations of their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association.

Amnesty International calls on President Lukashenka to guarantee the human rights of all people on the territory of Belarus. This briefing summarizes the main human rights violations that Amnesty International has documented since the elections on 19 December in Belarus.

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