CALL of the Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs of Belarus upon the European Union political institutions’ representatives
On December 19, 2010 the so-called presidential elections were held in Belarus. Unfortunately, this election campaign topped up the long list of elections that were neither free nor democratic since 1995.
The number of representatives of the opposition parties who were allowed to be included in the Precinct Election Commissions amounted to 0,25% of the total number of commissions’ members. Independent observers were not allowed to monitor the vote count. The results of the few vote count held openly on the Election Day differ from the officially announced results completely. Thus, the fact that Lukashenko won more than 50% of the votes needed for victory in the first round rises serious doubts. In the Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions of the OSCE election observation, non-compliance of the electoral process with democratic principles and norms was documented and the elections declared unfree and non-democratic. Internal independent observers came to the same conclusions.
Even before the voting and vote count were finished, security agencies began physical persecution of Mr. Lukashenko’s political opponents.
On 19th December, peaceful protests of thousands of citizens against the election fraud held in Minsk, were violently suppressed by special security forces.
Hundreds of people were severely beaten, mutilated. Seven of the nine presidential candidates were thrown into the KGB prison even before the official announcement of election results. More than 700 peaceful demonstrators were detained. In response to peaceful protests against the election fraud, authorities launched mass intimidation activities.
People are being fired and excluded from universities. Daily, KGB conducts interrogations of political and civic activists, journalists and human rights defenders, organizes searches and confiscation of equipment in offices and private apartments. The country is in a state of political terror.
Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs of Belarus calls upon politicians and official of the European Union, as well as upon all national and international institutions of democratic European countries to have their word in defending values on which the European community is based, to stand for the essential democratic rights and freedoms of the Belarusans, who belong to one of the European nations.
The Assembly of NGOs urges:
- Not to consider presidential elections in Belarus free, fair, democratic, complying with OSCE standarts and, accordingly, not to recognize their results as a legitimate expression of the will of Belarusan people.
- Strongly demand the immediate release of all political prisoners and stop the wave of political terror in the country. Deprive Mr. Lukashenka of the opportunity to use prisoners as political hostages in negotiation matters when talking about foreign policy.
- Initiate the establishment of an international commission consisting of the European Parliament members, as well as of parliamentarians of different countries, to investigate the facts of mass violence and repressions in Belarus, committed on 19 December 2010 and thereafter.
- Halt all political contacts with the Belarusian authorities at official level until all political prisoners have been released and all political persecutions have been ceased. Limit contacts with the Belarusan government bodies to a strictly technical level. Cease all contacts with the ministries and security agencies, whose representatives have been directly involved in conducting electoral fraud and political repressions.
- Renew and expand the practice of banning all officials, directly or indirectly involved in conducting electoral fraud and political repressions, from visiting democratic European countries. Based on previous experience in the field of releasing political prisoners, please use all possible targeted sanctions, aimed at those persons and at institutions under their control.
- Re-consider the issue of Belarus‘ participation in the EuroNest Inter-Parliamentary Program after fair parliamentary elections has been held.
- Terminate the participation of Belarusian authorities in intergovernmental programs in the frames of the Eastern Partnership project, until the complete termination of political persecution of the presidential candidates, their team members and civic activists in connection with the events of 19th December has happened. Further cooperation with Belarusian authorities in the frames of Eastern Partnership and technical assistance should start with the implementation by the Government of the four EU conditions in the field of democratization in Belarus.
- Substitute limited contacts with the anti-democratic government for an expanded help to Belarusan people and civil society:
– abolish Schengen visa fees for Belarusan citizens;
– provide independent media in Belarus and the media aimed at Belarusan audience in other European countries (Belsat TV, Radio Racyja, European Radio for Belarus, etc.) with institutional support, as well as advocate for the activities of democratic non-governmental organizations, including those in the frames of the Eastern Partnership;
– support political parties, movements and civic initiatives that are based on the principles of democracy and human rights and work in opposition to the regime;
– include Belarusan citizens in the list of persons eligible to apply for programs supporting higher education in the EU;
– activate all other forms of assistance provided directly to the Belarusan society and victims of political repressions in the country.
After 19th December Belarus changed. The victory of democracy in Belarus depends first of all on the Belarusans themselves, no one will bring us freedom, but ourselves. Your solidarity and support in these difficult days will help our people get to democracy and freedom quicker.