European Parliament adopts condemning resolution on Belarus

The European Parliament welcomes the tougher sanctions imposed by the EU on Belarus in February and calls for «further restrictive measures, including targeted economic sanctions».

The European Parliament calls on «the National Ice Hockey Federations of the EU Member States and all other democratic countries to urge the IIHF, including at its next Congress in May in Helsinki, Finland, to re-discuss its earlier decision envisaging the possibility of relocating the 2014 World Ice Hockey Championship from Belarus to another host country until all political prisoners, recognised by international human rights organisations as ‘prisoners of conscious’, are released».

According to the resolution, a dialogue between the European Union and Belarus is impossible without progress by Belarus in terms of democracy, human rights and rule of law and until political prisoners are released and and their civil rights are fully rehabilitated.

The document mentions the names of the prisoners that should be released first of all. They are head of Viasna human rights center Ales Bialiatski, ex-presidential candidates Mikalai Statkevich and Andrey Sannikau, election agents of opposition presidential candidates Pavel Sevyarynets and Zmitser Bandarenka, opposition activist Siarhei Kavalenka.

The European Parliament promises to continue opposing the repression of the regime’s political opponents, civil activists and independent mass media in Minsk.

The resolution stresses the decision to withdraw all the ambassadors of the EU Member States from Belarus proves that the Belarusian authorities’ attempts to divide the European Union over decisions on sanctions have failed. The document also condemns the offensive rhetoric used by Aliaksandr Lukashenka vis-à-vis German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

MEPs stressed that «instead of choosing increasing self-isolation, Minsk should make the right choice for its people and open itself to democracy».

Parliamentarians condemn the execution on 16 March of Uladzislau Kavaliou and Dzmitry Kanavalau, convicted of orchestrating the April 2011 Minsk metro bomb attack, and call on the Belarusian authorities to immediately impose a moratorium on the death penalty and release both men’s bodies to their families for burial. The Parliament considers the death penalty to be an «inhuman, ineffective and irreversible act of punishment».

The resolution supports strengthening the restrictive measures applied to Belarus by the European Council on March 23, 2012 and recommends the Council to take into account the latest developments in EU-Belarus diplomatic relations and the further deterioration of the human rights situation and extend targeted economic sanctions against the regime. The EP calls on the European Commission to support, with financial and political means, the efforts of Belarusian civil society, independent media and non-governmental organisations in Belarus.


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