• Actual
  • Law and the media
  • Helpful
  • Work areas and campaigns
  • Reviews and monitoring
  • European Parliament resolution of 10 September 2015 on the situation in Belarus

    The Euro­pean Par­lia­ment,

    –   hav­ing regard to its pre­vi­ous res­o­lu­tions and rec­om­men­da­tions on Belarus,

    –   hav­ing regard to the East­ern Part­ner­ship sum­mit held in Riga in May 2015 and to its dec­la­ra­tion,

    –   hav­ing regard to the dia­logue on human rights between the Euro­pean Union and the Repub­lic of Belarus of 28 July 2015,

    –   hav­ing regard to the release of six polit­i­cal pris­on­ers by the Belaru­sian author­i­ties on 22 August 2015 and to the fol­low­ing state­ment by Vice-Pres­i­dent of the Com­mis­sion / High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Union for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy Fed­er­i­ca Mogheri­ni and the Com­mis­sion­er for Neigh­bour­hood Pol­i­cy and Enlarge­ment Nego­ti­a­tions, Johannes Hahn, on the release of polit­i­cal pris­on­ers in Belarus of 22 August 2015,

    –   hav­ing regard to the forth­com­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tions sched­uled for 11 Octo­ber 2015,

    –   hav­ing regard to Rule 123(2) and (4) of its Rules of Pro­ce­dure,

    A. where­as, despite a notice­able inten­si­fi­ca­tion of con­tacts between Belarus and the EU and the Unit­ed States, vio­la­tions of human rights per­sist in Belarus, includ­ing intim­i­da­tion of human rights defend­ers, police raids on human rights organ­i­sa­tions and seizure of their equip­ment, and force­ful removals from Belarus, as con­firmed in the report of the UN Spe­cial Rap­por­teur on the sit­u­a­tion of human rights in Belarus;

    B.  where­as the first offi­cial vis­it of Parliament’s Del­e­ga­tion for rela­tions with Belarus since 2002 took place in Min­sk on 18 and 19 June 2015; where­as the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment cur­rent­ly has no offi­cial rela­tions with the Belaru­sian Par­lia­ment;

    C. where­as a sig­nif­i­cant improve­ment in the free­dom of speech and free­dom of the media, respect for the polit­i­cal rights of ordi­nary cit­i­zens and oppo­si­tion activists alike and respect for the rule of law and fun­da­men­tal rights are all pre­req­ui­sites for bet­ter rela­tions between the EU and Belarus; where­as the Euro­pean Union remains strong­ly com­mit­ted to fur­ther defend­ing human rights in Belarus, includ­ing free­dom of speech and media;

    D. where­as progress has been made in coop­er­a­tion on some sec­toral poli­cies such as high­er edu­ca­tion, voca­tion­al train­ing, the dig­i­tal mar­ket, the ener­gy sec­tor, food safe­ty and cul­ture, hav­ing a pos­i­tive impact on start­ing a con­struc­tive debate in Belaru­sian soci­ety on nec­es­sary reforms in the coun­try and on aware­ness about the EU; where­as the EU must make sure, how­ev­er, that its resources are not used to sup­press civ­il soci­ety organ­i­sa­tions, human rights defend­ers, free­lance jour­nal­ists and oppo­si­tion lead­ers;

    E.  where­as since 1994 no free and fair elec­tions in Belarus have been con­duct­ed under elec­toral leg­is­la­tion in line with inter­na­tion­al­ly recog­nised stan­dards, and where­as the cur­rent law gives an enor­mous advan­tage to the incum­bent pres­i­dent; where­as the OSCE/ODIHR has deployed its long-term elec­tion obser­va­tion mis­sion through­out Belarus and will coor­di­nate the work of short‑term observers;

    F.  where­as on 2 April 2015 Pres­i­dent Lukashenko signed Decree No. 3 ‘On the pre­ven­tion of social depen­den­cy’, which pro­vides for com­pul­so­ry labour for unem­ployed per­sons under the threat of pay­ment of a spe­cial fee to the state bud­get or admin­is­tra­tive lia­bil­i­ty in the form of a fine or admin­is­tra­tive arrest;

    G. where­as on 1 Jan­u­ary 2015 a new law reg­u­lat­ing all forms of media was intro­duced; where­as this law enables the gov­ern­ment to shut down any mass media out­lets, includ­ing online media, if they pub­lish con­tent it deems ‘unsuit­able’;

    H. where­as the Belaru­sian author­i­ties have final­ly released all six polit­i­cal pris­on­ers, includ­ing for­mer pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates, after years of deny­ing their exis­tence;

    I.   where­as on 13 July and 31 July 2015 the Coun­cil revised the restric­tive mea­sures towards Belarus and amend­ed the visa-ban and asset-freeze list, remov­ing some offi­cials and com­pa­nies there­from; whereas175 indi­vid­u­als, includ­ing Alexan­der Lukashenko, are cur­rent­ly sub­ject to entry bans and all of them plus 18 eco­nom­ic enti­ties are sub­ject to asset freezes with­in the EU; where­as an assess­ment of the EU’s restric­tive mea­sures is due to take place in the com­ing months, tak­ing into account the lat­est devel­op­ments and all oth­er fac­tors on the basis of which the restric­tive mea­sures were tak­en;

    J.   where­as on 28 July 2015 the EU and the Repub­lic of Belarus held a dia­logue on human rights in Brus­sels focused on a range of issues, which includ­ed the estab­lish­ment of a Nation­al Human Rights Insti­tu­tion, free­dom of expres­sion, assem­bly and asso­ci­a­tion, the death penal­ty, the fight against tor­ture and ill-treat­ment, and children’s rights;

    K. where­as Belarus played a con­struc­tive role in facil­i­tat­ing agree­ment on the cease­fire in Ukraine;

    L.  where­as the con­flict in Ukraine has deep­ened fears in Belaru­sian soci­ety of a desta­bil­i­sa­tion of the inter­nal sit­u­a­tion as a result of a pow­er change;

    M. where­as Belarus remains the only coun­try in Europe to car­ry out cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment;

    1.  Remains deeply con­cerned by the human rights and fun­da­men­tal free­doms sit­u­a­tion in Belarus, as well as by the short­com­ings observed dur­ing pre­vi­ous elec­tions by inde­pen­dent inter­na­tion­al observers and the active per­se­cu­tion of the oppo­si­tion lead­ers after the elec­tions;

    2.  Wel­comes the recent release of the remain­ing polit­i­cal pris­on­ers; calls on the Belaru­sian Gov­ern­ment to reha­bil­i­tate the released polit­i­cal pris­on­ers and to ful­ly restore their civ­il and polit­i­cal rights; stress­es that this could be a poten­tial first step towards improv­ing rela­tions between the Euro­pean Union and Belarus; points out, how­ev­er, that sim­i­lar steps in the past were rather token ges­tures and nei­ther con­tributed to improv­ing the sit­u­a­tion of Belaru­sian soci­ety nor improved rela­tions with the EU;

    3.  Calls on Belarus to con­duct the upcom­ing pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in accor­dance with inter­na­tion­al­ly recog­nised stan­dards, to give the oppo­si­tion unfet­tered access to all gov­ern­ment-con­trolled means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and to allow it to par­tic­i­pate in the elec­tions on an equal foot­ing, in par­tic­u­lar by cre­at­ing inde­pen­dent elec­tion com­mis­sions and allow­ing an ade­quate rep­re­sen­ta­tion there­in on all lev­els and a trans­par­ent vote count;

    4.  Expects the author­i­ties to stop the harass­ment of inde­pen­dent media for polit­i­cal rea­sons; urges a stop to the prac­tice of admin­is­tra­tive pros­e­cu­tion and the arbi­trary use of Arti­cle 22.9, Part 2, of the Admin­is­tra­tive Code against free­lance jour­nal­ists for work­ing with for­eign media with­out accred­i­ta­tion, which restrict the right to free­dom of expres­sion and the dis­sem­i­na­tion of infor­ma­tion;

    5.  Express­es its con­cern about the recent deten­tion and ongo­ing crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion of youth activists Mak­sim Piakars­ki, Vadz­im Zharom­s­ki and Viachaslau Kasin­er­au on sus­pi­cion of ‘mali­cious hooli­gan­ism’ as dis­pro­por­tion­ate, and strong­ly con­demns the vio­lence they have suf­fered;

    6.  Recalls that ten peo­ple have been exe­cut­ed in Belarus since 2010, with three exe­cu­tions in 2014 alone and a new death sen­tence hand­ed down on 18 March 2015; in this con­text urges Belarus, the only coun­try in Europe still apply­ing cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment, to join a glob­al mora­to­ri­um on the exe­cu­tion of the death penal­ty as a first step towards its per­ma­nent abo­li­tion;

    7.  Calls on the Gov­ern­ment of Belarus to respect the rec­om­men­da­tions of the UN Com­mit­tee on Eco­nom­ic, Social and Cul­tur­al Rights on the abo­li­tion of ele­ments of forced labour in the coun­try;

    8.  Draws atten­tion to the sit­u­a­tion of nation­al minori­ties in the coun­try and their cul­tur­al organ­i­sa­tions, whose lead­ers have at times been replaced by those pre­ferred by the state author­i­ties, thus vio­lat­ing one of the basic human free­doms: free­dom of asso­ci­a­tion;

    9.  Reit­er­ates its call on the Belaru­sian author­i­ties to ensure, in all cir­cum­stances, respect for demo­c­ra­t­ic prin­ci­ples, human rights and fun­da­men­tal free­doms, in accor­dance with the Uni­ver­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Human Rights and the inter­na­tion­al and region­al human rights instru­ments rat­i­fied by Belarus;

    10. Notes the hold­ing of the sixth round of con­sul­ta­tions between the EU and Belarus on mod­erni­sa­tion issues in Brus­sels on 3 Sep­tem­ber 2015, when the del­e­ga­tions dis­cussed the prospects for coop­er­a­tion in key areas, on the basis of agree­ments reached in 2014 and 2015; urges the EEAS and the Coun­cil to ensure that any par­tic­i­pa­tion by the author­i­ties in the Dia­logue on Mod­erni­sa­tion, along­side and on an equal basis with the demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­si­tion and civ­il soci­ety, takes place with full respect for demo­c­ra­t­ic prin­ci­ples, with a view to devel­op­ing a sus­tain­able com­pet­i­tive econ­o­my and fos­ter­ing demo­c­ra­t­ic reforms, as well as a plu­ral­is­tic soci­ety and the rule of law;

    11. Sup­ports the Com­mis­sion in its pol­i­cy of ‘crit­i­cal engage­ment’ with the Belaru­sian author­i­ties and express­es its readi­ness to con­tribute to it also via Parliament’s Del­e­ga­tion for rela­tions with Belarus; recalls, how­ev­er, that the EU must remain vig­i­lant with regard to where its resources are allo­cat­ed and make sure that they do not con­tribute to wors­en­ing the sit­u­a­tion of the oppo­si­tion and civ­il soci­ety;

    12. Reit­er­ates its call on the Com­mis­sion to sup­port, with finan­cial and polit­i­cal means, the efforts of Belaru­sian civ­il soci­ety, inde­pen­dent media and non-gov­ern­men­tal organ­i­sa­tions in Belarus to sup­port the demo­c­ra­t­ic aspi­ra­tions of the Belaru­sian peo­ple;

    13. Wel­comes the progress observed in sec­toral coop­er­a­tion with Belarus in the areas of high­er edu­ca­tion, voca­tion­al train­ing, the dig­i­tal mar­ket, the ener­gy sec­tor, food safe­ty and cul­ture, among oth­ers;

    14. Notes the launch in Jan­u­ary 2014 of the nego­ti­a­tions on visa facil­i­ta­tion aimed at improv­ing peo­ple-to-peo­ple con­tact and encour­ag­ing civ­il soci­ety; stress­es the need to speed up progress in this regard;

    15. Recog­nis­es the increase in the use of the Belaru­sian lan­guage in pub­lic life; notes the Min­istry of Education’s plans to fos­ter the use of the Belaru­sian lan­guage in edu­ca­tion, as well as the pub­li­ca­tion of leg­isla­tive acts by the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court in both Russ­ian and Belaru­sian;

    16. Calls on the Euro­pean Exter­nal Action Ser­vice and on the Com­mis­sion to find new ways to sup­port civ­il soci­ety organ­i­sa­tions in Belarus; stress­es, in this regard, the need to sup­port all inde­pen­dent sources of infor­ma­tion for Belaru­sian soci­ety, includ­ing media broad­cast­ing in the Belaru­sian lan­guage from abroad;

    17. Instructs its Pres­i­dent to for­ward this res­o­lu­tion to the Vice-Pres­i­dent of the Com­mis­sion / High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Union for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy (VP/HR), the Euro­pean Exter­nal Action Ser­vice, the Coun­cil, the Com­mis­sion and the Mem­ber States.

    The most important news and materials in our Telegram channel — subscribe!
    Most read
    Every day send to your mailbox: actual offers (grants, vacancies, competitions, scholarships), announcements of events (lectures, performances, presentations, press conferences) and good content.


    * indicates required

    By subscribing to the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy