Tag Archives: Lukashenko

MEPs CALL for new elections in Belarus

17.09.2020, Brussels. MEPs call for new presidential elections in Belarus and urge the EU to sanction President Lukashenko.

In a resolution adopted by 574 votes in favour, 37 against with 82 abstentions on Septembere 17, the European Parliament rejects the official results of the “so-called presidential elections” in Belarus on 9 August this year, as these elections were conducted in a “flagrant violation of all internationally recognised standards”. Once the term of office for the incumbent authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko expires on 5 November, Parliament will no longer recognise him as the president of the country.

In the meantime, MEPs welcome the recently established Coordination Council as an “interim representation of the people demanding democratic change” in Belarus that is open to all political and social stakeholders. They also reiterate the many calls for new, free and fair elections to take place as soon as possible under international supervision.

MEPs call for EU sanctions against the group of individuals responsible for falsifying the election results and for the violent repression in Belarus, including President Lukashenko, and call on EU member states in the Council to implement these restrictive measures without delay, in close coordination with international partners.

MEPs also staunchly condemn the mass arrests and ongoing violent crackdown on peaceful protesters, strike leaders and journalists in the country, with many reports of ill-treatment, rape and torture emerging from
Belarusian detention centres and jails.

The resolution finally underlines the important contribution made by prominent female opposition members, led by Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Veranika Tsapkala and Maria Kalesnikova, during the protests. It demands the immediate release of the arrested members of the Coordination Council and all those arbitrarily detained for political reasons.
The text notes that many Belarusians consider Tikhanovskaya to be the winner of the presidential elections and Belarus’ real president-elect.

Opposition politician arrest in Minsk

A member of the Belarusian opposition’s Coordination Council Maria Kolesnikova #Kalesnikava has been arrested and placed in a pre-trial detention center in Minsk, to various sources report. (Image: social media).

“The head of the investigative group of the Investigative Committee’s main investigation department Vasilyuk called me and informed that she had been arrested,” Maria’s father Alexander Kolesnikov said on September 9, according to tut.by portal.

Meanwhile, the Belarusian State Border Committee noted that information on Kolesnikova’s whereabouts and a legal assessment of her actions would be provided later.

On Tuesday, Belarus-1 state TV channel reported on its Telegram channel that Kolesnikova had been detained while trying to illegally cross the border with Ukraine. According to the Belarusian State Border Committee, she was going through border control together with the Council’s spokesman Anton Rodnenkov and executive secretary Ivan Kravtsov. The two men passed the control and later headed to Kiev, where they established contact.

The representatives of former presidential hopeful Viktor Babariko announced that Kolesnikova had been allegedly in the Mozyr border guard detachment and was later taken to Minsk.

The presidential election in Belarus was held on August 9. According to the Central Election Commission, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko was an absolute winner with 80.10% of the vote. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who was considered as his key rival, came in second with 10.12% of the vote.

She refused to recognize the official election results and exiled in Lithuania. Shortly after the exit poll results were announced, mass protests broke out in the country, which degenerated into clashes with law enforcement officers.

The authorities demand the end of the rallies, while the Coordination Council set up by the opposition calls to continue protests, demanding to cancel sham elections results, and set a new date for free and fair elections, releasing all political prisoners, who could not participate.

EU condemns Belarus arbitrary detentions

“We strongly condemn the unabating arbitrary and unexplained arrests and detentions on political grounds in Belarus that have been taking place since the start of the pre-presidential election campaign. Most recently, Maria Kalesnikova, Andrei Yahorau, Irina Sukhiy, Anton Radniankou, and Ivan Krautsou have all been targeted, while 633 people were detained following Sunday’s peaceful Unity March. It is clear that the State authorities in Belarus continue to intimidate or allow intimidation of its citizens in an increasingly lawless way and crudely violate both their own domestic laws and international obligations” reads the statement by the head of the EU diplomacy Josep Borrell on arbitrary and unexplained arrests and detentions on political grounds in Belarus.

“The EU expects the Belarusian authorities to ensure the immediate release of all detained on political grounds before and after the falsified 9 August presidential elections.

“Civil society and actors engaged in discussions on the future of Belarus, including members of the Coordination Council, must be protected from intimidation, forced exile, arbitrary arrest and violence. The rule of law and justice must prevail and a thorough and transparent investigation into all alleged abuses must take place, in order to hold those responsible to account.

“We expect the authorities to stop political persecution and engage in an inclusive national dialogue, in full respect of the Belarusian people’s democratic and fundamental rights.

“The EU will impose sanctions on individuals responsible for violence, repression and falsification of election results”.

EU supports OSCE mediation in Belarus crisis

The EU Foreign ministers have been addressing the situation in Belarus during their meeting in Gymnich informal format which took place in Berlin for two days August 27-28.

«The European Union does not recognise the results of the election and considers the actions of the authorities unacceptable» said the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell at concluding press-conference.

«We, once again, express our fully support to Belarus’ sovereignty and independence, condemn the violent repression of the Belarusian people and we ask the authorities to engage in an inclusive dialogue to move out of the crisis.

«The important things in concrete terms: First, Belarus being a member of the OSCE, we think that the OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office’s proposal to visit and facilitate a dialogue should be accepted by the authorities. As the European Union, we support this in any way we can.
There was political agreement among Ministers to designate selected individuals responsible for the fraudulent elections in Belarus and for the subsequent crackdown under the existing Belarus sanctions regime. These designations shall include individuals at the high political level.

«Now, the detailed list and the respective legal acts will be prepared by the competent Council Working Groups in the coming days with a view to be adopted [by the Council] as soon as possible.
With regard to that, I have just received a letter signed by 11 members of the Council asking to do it as soon as possible, and pressing for quick decision-making. But we have to do that according to all the legal procedures.

«Finally, we push for a national dialogue that is the only way to see democracy and fundamental freedoms respected in Belarus».

EU expects Belarus to release journalists

«Belarus: the EU expects from authorities the immediate and unconditional release of detained journalists, along with ALL peaceful protesters. Let media do their jobs without intimidation. A FreePress is crucial to the democracy demanded by the people of Belarusé» the European External Action Service spokesperson wrote on his Twitter micro blog. (Image above: social media).

Belarusian police detained at least 20 journalists planning to cover a protest in central Minsk on August 27 and confiscated their telephones and identity documents, and other filming equipment Reuters news agency reported.

The interior ministry later on the same day said the journalists had been driven to a police station for officers to check if they had valid accreditation allowing them to exercise their profession.

The authorities explained that all those with official accreditation would be released.

There were numerious reports about the detention of press by riot police, however so far the situation of jounralists remains unclear.

EU calls extraordinary Summit on Belarus crisis

The president of the European Union Council Charles Michel invites the heads of states and governments of the EU member-states to an extraordinary meeting on August 19 to discuss the recent political developments in the Republic of Belarus.

«The people of Belarus have the right to decide on their future and freely elect their leader» Michel wrote on his official Twitter micro blog. «Violence against protesters is unacceptable and cannot be allowed» he added.

According to the European diplomats, president Michel and the Council have been following events closely, and they were in permanent contact with the diplomatic missions in Minsk.

The situation there is evolving rapidly, and the negative developments caused attention and concerns of the EU leaders.

The EU is willing to send a message of solidarity and support to Belrrus people, claiming their Consitutuional and fundamental political rights.

The EU stands by the people of Belarus, insitsing that they are in their right to choose their leaderhip in free and fair elections, and decide upon their future.

On video below the workers chant «Leave-leave-leave!» to inumbent President of Belarus Lukashenko, who has claimed eleciton victory with 80% ballots, the result assessed by the EU as «falsified».

Transparency: Lukashenko betrays people

“Transparency International is horrified by the violent attacks, arbitrary arrests and brutal repression unleashed by the Government of Alexander Lukashenko against peaceful protesters in Belarus. We stand in solidarity with the people of Belarus who have shown incredible courage through their peaceful resistance to the country’s authoritarian regime since Sunday’s unfair election” reads the statement of the organisation.

“We are calling on the international community to come together in this critical moment and step up support to the people of Belarus through all diplomatic and political means available’

“This is a critical tool that may help end government violence against its own people. We are calling on other governments to urgently review their own tools to protect the people of Belarus”.

“Individual sanctions in the form of asset freezes and travel bans against those perpetrating or aiding violence have the potential to hurt the authoritarian regime at the highest level and encourage them to listen to the clear demands of the people” Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International, said.

“Protests broke out in Minsk and other cities after Alexander Lukashenko, president for 26 years, claimed victory by a landslide over his opponent Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya in elections mired in allegations of vote rigging and widely dismissed for not being free or fair.

“Alexander Lukashenko was elected by the people of Belarus in 1994 on an anti-corruption platform. He has betrayed his mandate and the trust of his people on many occasions during his 26 years as president,” said Oksana Drebezova, Transparency International’s national contact in Belarus.

“We are out in the streets – everybody who has courage and strength – to show that we will not stand another stolen election. Government has responded by unleashing riot police, mass detentions and violence, suppressing protesters rights and freedoms,” added Drebezova.

“Two people have died. Since Sunday, 6,700 people – including journalists – have been detained, some of whom have now been released. Shocking reports of torture, beatings, threats of rape and humiliation of detainees have been emerging.

“The unprecedented brutality that the government has committed against its own people must cease immediately.

“Transparency International has condemned the violence against peaceful protesters in Belarus and called on the government to enter into dialogue with the opposition on a peaceful way forward for the country.

“Elections in Belarus were neither free nor fair. Rather than committing acts of violence against its citizens, including the arrests of journalists and activists, the government should enter into dialogue to solve this crisis,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International.

“Once the crisis is over, Lukashenko and his regime must answer for the acts of violence and gross breaches of universal human rights in European and international courts,” continued Ferreira Rubio.

Belarus: EU to impose additional sanctions

The European Union top diplomat Josep Borrell announced via his Twitter micro blog that the bloc does not accept the announced results of the elections in Belarus as falsified.

EU doesn’t accept election results. Work begins on sanctioning those responsible for violence & falsification”. The announcement concluded the informal EU Foreign ministers Council, taking place on Friday 14 via teleconference.

The Ministers will also work out a proposal to Belarus authorities to facilitate the current crisis resolution, supporting dialogue between the incumbent authorities, opposition and broader society.

The announcement has been a clear warning that there is only one way forward for the incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko – respect the fundamental rights of Belarus people, and their aspiration for democratic change.

The Ministers expected the immediate release of all unlawfully detained prisoners, and thorough and transparent investigation of all reported abuses.

The Ministers agreed on the need of sanctions against all those responsible for “violence, repression and falsification of election results”. The Ministers has started work for additional sanctions against individuals immediately.

Since the EU lifted most of the restrictive measures against Belarus in February 2016, the EU has supported a number of key measures to help further develop the country’s economy:

Cooperation with international financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD); a number of largescale infrastructure projects are under consideration for funding.
Enhanced preparations for World Trade Organisation (WTO) accession – the removal of textile quotas for exports.

The Dialogue on Economic and Financial issues resumed in April 2018 in order to exchange views on the economic and financial situation and outlook in Belarus.
Under the EU4Business initiative, which supports private sector development, 900 enterprises have so far benefitted from loans, trainings and advice; 3,900 new jobs were created, helping Small & Medium Enterprises to grow and increase trade opportunities.
The first Twinning project in Belarus has started between the National Bank of Belarus and the Bundesbank, together with the Central Banks of Poland and Lithuania.

The annual EU-Belarus Human Rights Dialogue provides a forum for discussion on the human rights situation in Belarus and joint steps to be taken in this area. The EU remains committed to cooperate with Belarus to enhance democratic governance and develop institutions responsive to citizens’ needs.

Taking into account remaining important challenges in this area, the EU regularly raises issues related to freedom of assembly and association, freedom of speech and media as well as fundamental labour rights, with the Belarusian authorities at all levels. The European Union has raised its strong opposition to capital punishment, which is still in use in Belarus, and has called for a moratorium on the death penalty.

In October 2016, Belarus adopted the National Human Rights Action Plan which underpins the process of domestic reforms and legislative amendments in respect of human rights and fundamental values. The EU is supporting its implementation, including for continued dialogue between the Government and civil society.

The EU has broad spectrum of instruments, supporting Belarus by funding through the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) for the period 2014-2020. It replaces the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) of 2007-2013. Other funding sources are the thematic programmes, focused on human rights and civil society.

Image: social media

EU: Belarus elections «falsified»

The EU Foreign Ministers addressed the Belarusian Presidential elections that took place on 9 August.

“Ministers reiterated their repeated call to the Belarusian authorities to stop the disproportionate and unacceptable violence against peaceful protesters. The EU expects the authorities to release immediately all unlawfully detained persons. In light of shocking reports of inhumane treatment and detention conditions, the European Union expects a thorough and transparent investigation into all alleged abuses, in order to hold those responsible to account.

“During their discussions, the Ministers sent a strong signal of the EU’s support to the Belarusian population in their desire for democratic change. The Ministers noted the exceptional work of the domestic election observers, whose reporting, in the absence of international election observers, has been crucial in helping to reveal the true picture regarding last Sunday’s elections. They discussed how to support this vital work.

“The Ministers reiterated that the elections were neither free nor fair. The European Union considers the results to have been falsified and therefore does not accept the results of the election as presented by the Belarus Central Election Commission. The European Union will therefore put forward to the Belarusian authorities a proposal for EU support in in establishing and facilitating a dialogue between the political authorities, opposition and broader society in view of resolving the current crisis. The High Representative/Vice-President and his services will begin work on this proposal immediately.

“Ministers also agreed on the need to sanction those responsible for violence, repression and the falsification of election results. The work on additional listings within the existing sanctions framework for Belarus will start immediately.

“The Ministers expressed appreciation for the work of journalists in the difficult conditions that they are facing and condemned attacks on and detentions of journalists, including EU citizens.

“The Ministers agreed to revert to reviewing EU-Belarus relations at their upcoming informal meeting end of August. As part of this review, the European Union will look at how to increase its support to the Belarusian people, including through enhanced engagement with and financial support to civil society, additional support to independent media, and increasing opportunities for student and academic mobility”.

Image: archive

Belarus: Leyen calls for «additional sanctions»

«We need additional sanctions against those who violated democratic values or abused human rights in Belarus» wrote the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on her Twitter micro blog.
«I am confident today’s EU Foreign Ministers’ discussion will demonstrate our strong support for the rights of the people in Belarus to fundamental freedoms & democracy».

The European Union foreign ministers are gathering today, August 14, via teleconference to discuss the situation in Balarus, and possible sanctions against Alyaksandr Lukashenko regime for brutal crackdown on peacful demonstrators in the aftermath of widely disputed announcement of presidential election result, attributing to the incumbent President 80% of votes.

Ahead of an EU foreign ministers extraordinary meeting in Brussels on August 14, Belarusian authorities began releasing hundreds of detainees early in the morning.

Many of those released described horrible conditions in detention facilities, beatings, and other mistreatment, while Amnesty International said the accounts suggested “widespread torture.”

At least two protesters have died and some 6,700 people have been detained since nationwide protests erupted on August 9 after the state TV announed the reliminary results, showing Lukashenko winning a sixth term with 80% of vote.

The claim was rejected by opposition candidate Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who was forced to exicle in neighbouringc Lithuania.

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