The Department of State is imposing visa restrictions on Belarusian nationals under the “Khashoggi Ban,” a tool the Administration announced last year to counter transnational repression. Today’s actions target 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 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.
This action is part of a comprehensive effort to prevent and respond to acts of transnational repression by any government targeting journalists, activists, and dissidents for abuse, bringing together diplomatic, law enforcement, and intelligence tools to deter repressive governments and protect targeted individuals and groups, including within the United States. The Khashoggi Ban, a global visa restriction policy pursuant to Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, is one important tool in this effort.
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; to immediately release all political prisoners; to engage in sincere facilitated dialogue with the democratic opposition and civil society; to fulfill its international human rights obligations; to stop its coercion of vulnerable people and its retaliatory action against governments and groups that assist them; and to hold free and fair elections under international observation. We will continue working with the international community to hold accountable those responsible for repression and human rights violations and abuses in Belarus.