The US revoked Monday an authorization for nine previously sanctioned Belarusian state-owned companies over human rights violations in the country.
With the move Treasury Department revoked the Belarus-related General Licence (GL) and implementation of a 45-day wind-down of transactions, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
“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,” Blinken continued.
In 2015, the US issued the GL authorizing Americans to engage in certain transactions with the nine sanctioned Belarusian companies.
The government’s suppression during August 2020 presidential elections in Belarus and its aftermath resulted in arrests of more than 340 political prisoners, said Blinken.
“Given the sharply deteriorating human rights situation in Belarus, the U.S. Government determined a further extension would be inconsistent with the Belarus Democracy Act and incompatible with American values,” he said.
The top diplomat urged Belarus to “immediately and unconditionally” release all those “unjustly” detained or imprisoned.
The current licenses were set to expire on April 26.
Belarus has been wracked by civil unrest since strongman Alexander Lukashenko claimed a sixth term in office in August last year in elections rejected by the opposition, the US, and EU over allegations they were rigged in his favor.