The forced diversion of a plane carrying a Belarusian opposition journalist on 23 May sparked international outcry. As global powers resolve to take action, there are doubts about the efficacy of sanctions against authoritarian regimes.
The subsequent removal and arrest of Roman Protasevich from a grounded plane in Minsk prompted calls to punish Belarus, where officials, including the country’s leader Alexander Lukashenko, already face sanctions from multiple states for rule of law violations.
Despite recent efforts to sanction the country, Oksana Antonenko, Director, Global Risk Analysis at Control Risks, says the international community has been powerless to stop the egregious human rights violations being committed by the authorities. ‘We’ve seen now almost a year of really severe repression and violence against its people on a daily basis, including arbitrary arrests, beatings and torture,’ she says. ‘That’s happening in the middle of Europe. Of course, sanctions have been applied, but they so far have done nothing to stop these activities within Belarus.’