US House of Reps calls for targeted sanctions coordinated with EU against ‘illegitimate Lukashenka regime’

Capitol building. Photo:

The lower house of the US Congress has adopted Resolution Nr 124 regarding the situation in Belarus.

It goes by the title ‘Supporting the people of Belarus and their democratic aspirations and condemning the election rigging and subsequent violent crackdowns on peaceful protesters by the illegitimate Lukashenka regime’.

This resolution was submitted as far back as February 15, but it was put to the vote only in the session that started last week. 339 Congressmen voted for the resolution, 69 – against. At that, all the provisions of the resolution are of advisory nature.

The resolution recalls numerous examples of repressive practices against opponents and critics of the Lukashenka regime, e.g. mass arrests, violence, prison terms, threatening with termination of parental rights deprivation of parental rights, expulsion from educational institutions. In addition, its authors made mention of the case of imprisoned colleagues Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova who were sentenced to two years in jail each ‘simply for reporting live from a rally in Minsk in November 2020’.

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The resolution finds that the 2020 presidential election in Belarus was neither free nor fair and therefore, does not recognise the government-and nounced results or Alyaksandr Lukashenka as the legitimate President of Belarus. In the document, US lawmakers urged the Belarusian authorities to immediately release all political prisoners and ‘those unlawfully detained in connection with the peaceful demonstrations’. They also recognised the Coordination Council established by Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya as a legitimate institution to participate in a dialogue on a peaceful transition of power.

In should be highlighted that the Congressmen called for further targeted sanctions ‘coordinated between the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, and other allies and partners against Belarusian authorities who committed human rights violations and engaged in activities that resulted in the falsification of the August 9, 2020, election results’.

On April 19, the US Department of the Treasury announced unfreezing the sanctions against nine Belarusian companies. Several dozen Belarusian individuals responsible for undermining Belarusian democracy have been put on the US blacklist, which makes them generally ineligible for entry into the United States. Moreover, all their assets, property and interests in property that are in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons are to be blocked.

On December 21, the US Senate approved the Belarus Democracy, Human Rights, and Sovereignty Act of 2020. The bill gives additional authority to the President of the United States to slap new sanctions in the wake of the stealing of the 2020 presidential election in Belarus and the brutal crackdown on the protesters.

US Senate passes 2020 Belarus Democracy Act