2009 28/02

Günter Nooke

Günter Nooke

“Our visit should remind the EU countries and Belarus that cooperation, even on economic grounds, must base on common system of values, Günter Nooke said.

Günter Nooke, German’s Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights, was in the delegation of ombudsmen from four European states, visiting Belarus.

As the German ombudsman pointed out at a meeting with journalists on February 26, “a visit of the delegation isn’t aimed at looking for positive changes”:

“Commissioners for human rights critically examine the situation in Belarus to form our opinion.” It is planned that they will send a report to governments of their countries and EU institutions before a decision on sanctions against Belarusian officials will be taken.

Günter Nooke noted that ”many questions had been discussed” during meetings between the delegation and representatives of the Belarusian authorities, but grounds for arrest of businessmen from Vaukavysk (Mikola Autukhovich, Yury Lyavonau, and Uladzimir Asipenka) “hadn’t been explained”.

The German ombudsman stresses importance of all components of a law-based state, including separation of powers, independent legal bodies and media, independent parliament and Constitution, guarantying human rights.

“When speaking about a system, about definitions of dictatorship and democracy, I must say that all questions connected with the electoral system, registration of NGOs, excessive power of president and insufficient power of other institutions, absence of independence of the legal system… Only little changes have taken place in these spheres in the country,” the commissioner for human rights said.

The human rights activist said there was no decision on what could be recommended to the EU on sanctions against Lukashenka’s regime, but expressed his recommendations to the Belarusian authorities:

“In my view, Belarus has no chances to improve its relations with the European Union or become a member of the Council of Europe without sharp changes in the sphere of civil and political rights for all Belarusians. We will call on the Belarusian government to move forward in this direction. But, I think, it is not a short way for us.”

As it has been informed earlier, on four ombudsmen on human rights are on visit to Belarus on February 25–27. The delegation consists of Günter Nooke from Germany, Arnold Kristian de Fin Skibsted from Denmark, Arjan Hamburger from the Netherlands and Kari Kahiluoto from Finland. They had a number of meetings with representatives of the authorities and civil society.

New political prisoners have appeared in Belarusian jails. In February 2009, leaders of entrepreneurs Mikola Autukhovich, Yury Lyavonau, and Uladzimir Asipenka and “Young Front” activist Artsyom Dubski were arrested. Autukhovich and Lyavonau are former political prisoners, sentenced to restraint of liberty on a far-fetched accusation for protection of rights of businessmen. Dubski was convicted in the notorious Case of 14. Opposition activists Alyaksei Bondar, Mikhail Kryvau, Mikhail Pashkevich, Alyaksandr Stralstou, Alyaksandr Charnyshou, Tatsyana Tsishkevich, Mikhail Subach, Paval Vinahradau, Maksim Dashuk, and Alyaksandr Barazenka are sentenced to restriction of liberty for participation in protest rallies of entrepreneurs.

Participant of the Process of 14, activist of the civil campaign “European Belarus” Maksim Dashuk was arrested on February 23. On February 24 he was released from remand jail and put under house arrest until the trial. The guy was released on his recognizance. Dashuk is accused of violation of rules of serving the punishment, he was sentenced to with other oppositionists in last April for participation in protest rallies of entrepreneurs.

Source: www.charter97.org

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