The Department of State announced action to impose visa restrictions on multiple Belarusian nationals for their involvement in serious, extraterritorial counter-dissident activity. The United States condemns all such activity, including the attempt to forcibly repatriate Belarusian Olympian Krystsina Tsimanouskaya during the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games last year.
The United States applauds the Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation’s efforts to support and protect the human rights of athletes amid the Aleksandr Lukashenka regime’s violent crackdown and ongoing repression of Belarusians inside and outside the country. “We stand in solidarity with Ms. Tsimanouskaya and all others who have experienced the regime’s attempts to silence criticism,” declared Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
This action falls under the Khashoggi Ban, a global visa restriction policy pursuant to Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. These visa restrictions are part of a comprehensive effort to prevent and respond to acts of extraterritorial repression by any government targeting journalists, activists, and dissidents. It brings together diplomatic, law enforcement, and intelligence tools in an effort to deter repressive governments and to protect targeted individuals and groups, including within the United States.
The United States reaffirms its support for the people of Belarus and once again calls on the Lukashenka regime to end its crackdown on members of civil society, independent media, the political opposition, athletes, students, legal professionals, and other Belarusians. Further, the regime must immediately release all political prisoners, engage in a facilitated, genuine dialogue with the democratic opposition and civil society, respect human rights, and stop its retaliation against governments and groups that assist them, as well as its exploitation of vulnerable migrants. And finally, the Lukashenka regime must hold free and fair elections under international observation.
“We will continue working with the international community,” said Secretary Blinken, “to hold accountable those responsible for repression and human rights violations and abuses in Belarus.”