2009 25/06

stefanovich7Special guest status in PACE will be returned to the parliament of Belarus only after the moratorium on the death penalty. This decision was taken on 23 June at the PACE session in Strasbourg. As said the representative of the HRC “Viasna, Valiantsin Stefanovich, human rights activists fully support this proposal.

- We welcome the decision taken at today’s session of PACE. Restoring of the special guest status in the Council of Europe should not be a present for the Belarusian authorities. The Belarusian authorities must make further significant steps toward democratization in the country to receive such status, Mr. Stefanovich said.

Human rights activist noted that although the status of special guest does not provide for a moratorium on the death penalty (because it is not a question of full membership in the Council of Europe), the requirement of the Assembly is quite adequate.

- We fully support this proposal and believe that a moratorium on the death penalty would be appropriate step to restore the status of special guest of the parliament of Belarus, human rights activist said.
Let we recall that in 1993 Belarus has already received the special guest status in PACE. However, after a referendum in 1996, whose results were not recognized by the democratic world, the country has been stripped of that status.

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