EU to support International Accountability Platform for Belarus ‘politically and financially’

Josep Borrell. Photo: RFE/RL

The European Union is going to support the International Accountability Platform for Belarus (IAPB) ‘politically and, once preparations are finalised, also financially’, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said on Friday.

The aim of the IAPB initiative launched is to monitor the observance of human rights in Belarus and to collect evidence of human rights violations committed by state institutions in the run-up to the presidential vote in August 2020 and after the rigged elections. The corresponding statement was made on behalf of Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the USA on March, 24. The platform is expected to consist of Belarusian and international non-governmental organisations specialising in human rights protection.

“Since the fraudulent presidential election seven months ago, Belarusian authorities have committed unacceptable human rights violations against the people of Belarus. In the face of a massive, peaceful mobilisation of the Belarusian population standing up for democracy and their fundamental freedoms, the authorities have responded with violent repression, arbitrary arrest and detention, hundreds of documented cases of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, including sexual and gender-based violence,” the European External Acrion Service stated on March, 26.

EEAS spokesman: If bad developments continue in Belarus, sanction regime can be extended

According to the EEAS Head, ‘unprovoked, arbitrary detentions’ of over 200 peaceful people across Belarus on Freedom Day demonstrate that the scale of state run repression does not decrease.

“The perpetrators must be held to account,” Josep Borrell stressed.

The establishment of the IAPB is the result of, among other things, the report on human rights violations in Belarus that was prepared by OSCE Rapporteur Professor Wolfgang Benedek under the Moscow Mechanism invoked by 17 OSCE participating states. One of the recommendations in the report was to set up an independent body documenting such cases for future proceedings.

This week, the European Union also successfully presented a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council that establishes a robust mechanism under the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; this mechanism will benefit from the documentation secured by the IAPB, among others, and contribute to accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims, the EEAS office added.

UN Human Rights Council adopts resolution on collecting evidence of post-election crimes in Belarus