2010 30/04


The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe freezes high-level contacts with Belarus due to violation of democratic standards.

The resolution was adopted by a majority of votes at a PACE session in Strasbourg on April 29.

The resolution was adopted with 58 out of 67 votes in favour, 6 against and 3 abstentions, BelaPAN reports.

“Get lost!” Christos Pourgourides, rapporteur on Belarus of the Assembly’s Legal Affairs Committee, commented on the position of Belarusian authorities towards the Council of Europe and PACE.

As ucpb.org website reports, another Cyprian PACE member: “Lukashenka doesn’t care about our resolutions. He is sure will kneel to him. We should put an end to this. We shouldn’t have any contacts with the Belarusian authorities.”

The resolution notes a “lack of progress” towards Council of Europe. In particular, the document says that two executions were carried out in Belarus “in conditions of total secrecy” at a time when the United Nations Human Rights Committee had requested a stay in the executions pending its examination of their cases. The resolution also mentions the facts of violations of the rights of the Polish minority in Belarus and absence of international observers at the local council “elections”.

The resolution regrets “lack of political will on the part of the Belarusian authorities to embrace Council of Europe values” and calls to continue the dialogue with Belarus.

In view of the recent executions, the Assembly has adopted a decision to “put on hold its activities involving high-level contacts between the Assembly and the Belarusian parliament and/or governmental authorities”, the PACE resolution says, Interfax informs.

It became known yesterday that the PACE president cancelled his visit to Belarus.

On April 29, leader of the United Civil Party Anatol Lyabedzka had a meeting with Mevlьt Cavusoglu, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

“We have discussed a range of issues,” Anatol Lyabedzka told ucpb.org website after the meeting. “I presented our vision of the roadmap on Belarus’ accession to the Council of Europe and PACE, and the monitoring of the recent electoral campaign carried out as part of the Tell the Truth campaign. I tried to conduct a concrete dialogue and focused on the facts of harassment of independent journalists, the situation with the Union of Poles, and a tendency to control the Internet. But the main question is what should be done. Now much depends on the political will of the Assembly. We are ready to discuss an issue on the roadmap with the Assembly and representatives of the Belarusian authorities.”

The PACE President noted he had to cancel his visit to Minsk due to the recent actions of the Belarusian authorities.”

The United Nations Human Rights Committee earlier deplored the executions of two people, whose cases are currently pending before the Committee. The Council of Europe, Amnesty International, and Belarusian human rights activists have also condemned the actions of the Belarusian authorities.

Belarus is the only country in Europe where the death penalty wasn’t abolished. In June 2009, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution on restoring special guest status in PACE for Belarus on a condition of imposing moratorium on death penalty. The European Union also calls on imposing moratorium. This is one of the conditions for lifting visa sanctions on Belarusian officials extended by the EU until October 2010.

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