The US is imposing sanctions on Belarus in wake of repeated human rights violations and continued detention of political prisoners. The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is revoking Belarus General License 2G and replacing it with Belarus General License 2H “Authorizing the Wind Down of Transactions Involving Certain Blocked Entities.”

The OFAC issued a statement saying, “Belarus General License 2H authorizes a 45-day wind down period for certain transactions involving nine sanctioned Belarusian state-owned entities, and entities in which they own a 50 percent or greater interest, which were previously authorized pursuant to Belarus General License 2G.”  

The US State Department has backed the move saying, “This action is a further consequence of the Belarusian authorities’ flagrant disregard for human rights and Belarus’ failure to comply with its obligations under international human rights law.” Calling the 2020 Belarus elections “fraudulent” the State Department said that “there are more than 340 political prisoners detained in Belarus today.” 

It further explained, “The nine state-owned enterprises affected by this action finance and support the Lukashenka regime, facilitating its violent repression of the Belarusian people and repeated rejection of the rule of law.”

It called for the immediate release of “political hopefuls like Syarhey Tsikhanouski, courageous activist leaders like Maria Kalesnikava, and independent media experts like Ihar Losik – who are but three among the hundreds of Belarusians unjustly imprisoned by the Lukashenka regime for exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Feature image: File picture of protest rally against Lukashenko. Date August 16, Location: Minsk, Belarus. Banner says, “Fair elections. Tribunal. Freedom to the political prisoners”. Image by Homoatrox via Wikimedia Commons.