Today is Belarus’ official Independence Day. On behalf of the United States of America, I send my warmest wishes to the people of Belarus, wherever they may be.
On Independence Day, despite being an occasion to celebrate hard-won freedoms, Belarusians remain unable to determine their country’s future or express their views without fear of harsh reprisal. For the second year in a row, too many Belarusian families will mark this Independence Day separated from their loved ones, as more than 1,200 political prisoners languish in prisons for trying to exercise the freedoms this day is supposed to symbolize.
The United States stands with the people of Belarus, who continue to seek the promise of true independence, and demonstrate great courage in pursuit of freedom, democracy, and accountability.