Before and after the condemned elections in Belarus in August, which President Alexander Lukashenko claims to have won, the country's opposition leaders have been imprisoned or forced into exile.

Hundreds of thousands of Belarusians have taken to the streets in unprecedented protests and thousands of protesters have been detained.

Political crimes

According to Bachelet, by February 9, a total of 246 people had been sentenced to prison for alleged political crimes.

The report, which covers the period May to December 20, describes arbitrary arrests, hundreds of allegations of torture, and threats and harassment against journalists, activists and opposition figures.

- All these violations committed during impunity have created a sense of terror, says Bachelet.

Belarusian authorities that responded to the report state that judicial authorities have received 4,644 complaints of violence and that more than 1,050 of those reports have been rejected.

- From what we understand, not a single one of the hundreds of complaints concerning torture and ill-treatment has led to an investigation being initiated, Bachelet states.

Tightening of penalties

She sees particular cause for concern in the preparations now under way in Belarus with a view to amending legislation so that his sentences for participating in peaceful demonstrations are sharpened.

She urges the regime to release anyone who has demonstrated peacefully.

Belarusian UN Ambassador Yuri Ambrazevich dismisses the report as "very subjective".

- The Belarusian government does not believe that this report deserves attention, he says via video link at the meeting.