Appeal to the Members of the European Parliament by Belarusian Civic Leaders
Appeal by representatives of the Belarusian civil society, prepared for the recent session of the European Parliament.
APPEAL to the Members of the European Parliament on the Situation in Belarus
Dear representatives of the nations of democratic Europe,
A dictatorial regime has been ruling in Belarus for 16 years already.
The so-called presidential elections took place in Belarus on the 19 December 2010. The number of representatives from the opposition parties, allowed to join the polling station electoral commissions, amounted to 0.25% of the overall number those commission members. Independent observers were disallowed to monitor the vote count. At those few polling stations where independent observers were able to prevent the substitution or slipping in of the ballots cast on the voting day, and to secure their public count, A. Lukashenka’s electoral support on the 19 December election day was from 32% to 45% .
Similar results were obtained also through independent exit-polls.
Therefore there are good grounds to doubt that A. Lukashenka received an amount of votes exceeding 50% as required to win the elections in the first round.
Yet before the voting ended and prior to the vote count, the state authorities’ security services started physical reprisals against A. Lukashenka’s political opponents.
The peaceful protests by dozens of thousands of citizens in Miensk against the rigging of election results on the 19 December were brutally suppressed by the police special forces.
Hundreds of people were beaten up to blood and maimed. Seven of the presidential candidates were thrown into the KGB prison even before the election results were officially announced. Over 600 peaceful demonstrators were subjected to administrative arrests. In response to the peaceful protests against the election result falsification the state authorities unleashed a campaign of mass intimidation.
People continue to suffer dismissals from work and expulsion from education. Every day the KGB interrogates political and civil activists, journalists, human rights activists, conducts searches in offices and private flats, as well as equipment confiscations. The country is in the grip of political terror. Lukashenka strives by force to remain in power yet again, for which he has lost either legal or moral right.
According to the figures of the Central Electoral Commission, which is completely under Lukashenka’s control, he allegedly obtained 79.65% of the votes. But the final protocol of the OSCE observer mission recorded the fact that the election process failed to correspond to democratic principles and norms, and recognised the elections as unfree and undemocratic. The independent Belarusian observers came to the same conclusion.
We, the voters who nominated the democratic candidates, being also the candidates’ initiative group members, election observers, political prisoners and their relatives, are calling on the European Parliament, as well as on all the national and international institutions of the democratic states of Europe, to demonstrate their will to stand for the values on which the community of Europe is based, to stand up for the inalienable democratic rights and freedoms of the Belarusian people, as of one of the European nations. It has been confirmed to all of us yet again that the anti-democratic regime in Belarus is capable of undergoing neither re-education nor evolution, nor changing its substance.
The dictatorial regime in Belarus is a menace to the independence of Belarus, as well as to the European stability.
1. Not to recognise the presidential elections in Belarus as free, fair, democratic, or corresponding the OSCE standards, and accordingly, not to recognise their declared outcome as a legitimate expression of the will of the Belarusian people. We support the appeal by the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic (a historical successor in the free world of the Belarusian democratic statehood) and the Belarusian diaspora organisations to the democratic governments to refrain from using the definition of “President of Belarus” in relation to the initiator of the repressions Mr A. Lukashenka.
2. Strongly to demand the immediate release of all the de facto political prisoners, as well as a stop to the wave of political terror in the country. Not to allow A. Lukashenka a possibility to use the prisoners as political hostages in a trade for solving the problems of his foreign relations.
3. To initiate the creation of an international commission made of the European Union parliamentarians to investigate the facts of the mass beating and repressions in Belarus both on the 19 December 2010 and during the period thereafter.
4. To stop any political contacts with the authorities in Miensk until the release of all the political prisoners and a complete stop to political persecutions.
5. To limit the necessary contacts with Belarus authorities to the technical level. To stop all contacts with those ministries and security agencies of the government whose representatives were and remain directly involved in the election rigging and political repressions.
6. To restore and expand the practice of denying entrance to the democratic countries of Europe to all those officials directly or indirectly involved in the election rigging and political repressions. Taking into consideration the previous experience of securing the release of political prisoners, to use all possibilities of targeted sanctions against such persons, as well as against entities under their control.
7. To reconsider the issue of Belarus’s participation in the Euronest inter-parliamentary programme not before fair elections take place in Belarus.
8. To bar Belarus from participating in inter-governmental programmes supported in the framework of the “Eastern Partnership”, until the fulfilment of the four EU democratisation conditions for Belarus.
9. To compensate the restriction of contacts with the anti-democratic state authorities by a substantial expansion of assistance to the people and civil society of Belarus:
– to abolish Schengen visas for the citizens of Belarus;
– to provide institutional support, including within the Eastern Partnership framework, to the independent mass media of Belarus and to those mass media broadcasting for the Belarusian audience from other European countries (Belsat TV, Radyjo Racyja, European Radio for Belarus etc.), as well as to the activity of democratic non-governmental organisations;
– to provide political support to those parties, movements and civic initiatives that stand on the principles of democracy and human rights and are in opposition to the regime;
– to include Belarusian citizens in the EU programmes of higher education support;
– to devise a scheme of support for small business in Belarus, in a way as to exclude the state authorities’ involvement and influence;
– to bolster all other forms of assistance directly to the society of Belarus, and to the political repression victims in the country.
Belarus has changed after the 19 December 2010. A victory for democracy in Belarus is a task for Belarusians themselves: no one will bring us freedom except ourselves. Your solidarity and support in these difficult times will hasten our people’s advance to democracy and freedom.
Bahdanava, Iryna – sister of political prisoner Andrej Sannikau
Bakur, Jurka – participant of the Dec 19 protest action, victim of political repression
Bandarenka, Zinaida – actress, People’s Artist of Belarus
Barodka, Zmicier – presidential candidate A.Sannikau’s election agent
Bialacki, Ales – human rights defender
Chadyka, Jury – Prof. Dr. (Physics)
Chalezin, Mikalaj – Free Theatre art director
Chalip, Uladzimir – film director, father of a political prisoner, journalist Iryna Chalip
Dabravolski, Alaksandar – fmr. MP, member of the United Civil Party National Council
Ivaškievic, Viktar – head of Belarusian Popular Front Party, Minsk City Organisation
Kalada, Natalla – Free Theatre director, victim of political repression
Kanius, Hanna – presidential candidate U. Niaklajeu’s election agent
Laurouskaja, Iryna – Dr. (Architecture), member of the Public Council on Historical Heritage
Marholin, Leu – deputy chairman of the United Civil Party
Maslouski, Ihar – head of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party, Bierascie Region Organisation
Michniuk, Zinaida – leader of Trade Union of Radio Electronics Industry Workers, Bierascie region
Miech, Ales – parliamentary candidate in the 2008 parliamentary elections
Panasiuk-Šarenda, Palina – member of the presidential candidate A.Sannikau initiative group
Pietrusievic, Fiodar – member of the presidential candidate A.Sannikau initiative group
Placko, Zmicier – member of the presidential candidate V.Rymašeuski initiative group, participant of the Dec 19 protest action
Puk, Nadzieja – mother of a political prisoner, journalist Natalla Radzina
Puk, Valancin – father of a political prisoner, journalist Natalla Radzina
Sadouski, Piotra – fmr MP, Ambassador
Šarenda, Andrej – member of the presidential candidate V.Rymašeuski initiative group, victim of political repression
Siamdzianava, Halina – fmr. MP, member of the Minsk City Electoral Commission
Šurchaj, Zmicier – member of the presidential candidate V.Rymašeuski initiative group, participant of the Dec 19 protest action, a victim of political repression
Sviackaja, Valancina – election monitor in the Minsk City Electoral Commission
Viacorka, Vincuk – co-chairman of the United Democratic Forces, election monitor
11th January 2011
Memorandum of the Association of Belarusians in Great Britain on Elections
the Association of Belarusians in Great Britain adopted a memorandum in the aftermath of the 2010 presidential elections in Belarus
by the Association of Belarusians in Great Britain
1. The Association of Belarusians in Great Britain notes the statement by Minister for Europe David Lidington MP of 20 December 2010 condemning “all violence surrounding” the 19th December Presidential Election in Belarus, and supports HM Government’s call “on the Government of Belarus to apply the rule of law impartially and effectively, to inform the public of the location of those detained and to refrain from further acts of intimidation and violence”.
The 19th December presidential vote in Belarus came in the wake of the brutal arm-twisting and gagging of society by the regime of President Alexander Lukashenka, as well as reports of widespread and systematic vote-rigging in preparation for the declaration of a falsified result. It was dominated by an illegitimate candidate – the incumbent President, who has ruled the country for over 16 years like a dictator. His second legitimate term in office expired in 2006 and this would be his forth.
3. It has since emerged that:
* No free and fair presidential elections took place in Belarus on the 19th December 2010 at all, according to the OSCE and other international monitors’ assessment;
* There has been no credible confirmation of the officially declared results, in terms of either figures, or whether or not Mr Alexander Lukashenka was actually elected in the first round, while there has been mounting evidence to the contrary;
* It has also become all too clear that the appalling brutality unleashed by Lukashenka’s internal security forces that night was Lukashenka’s act of suppression of a peaceful mass protest movement demanding fair and free elections, while further evidence has emerged that the brutal violence by the government’s forces came under a pretext created by a provocation carried out by the government’s own agents. In fact a leading presidential candidate was attacked, severely beaten up and left semi-conscious, by the incumbent president’s security forces even before any street protests unfolded;
* Since that night, the pro-democratic society in Belarus, in the capital and elsewhere, has been subjected to a reign of terror, with searches and new arrests, KGB interrogations, moves to take opposition activists’ children into government custody, etc. All this has become the routine of daily life;
* At least 700 have suffered short-term imprisonment so far, a number have suffered serious physical injuries from the security forces. New arrests have been made virtually daily, many of those arrested have been kept in conditions that appear to constitute forms of physical and psychological torture;
* The majority of presidential candidates, as well as a significant number of politicians, civic activists, campaigners and journalists, now face charges leading to long prison sentences;
* The people of Belarus have been officially threatened with eventual reprisals against every individual who was among the several dozens of thousands demonstrating that night.
4. In view of the 19th December 2010 and subsequent events, the Association believes that urgent considerations of fundamental justice and humanity, as well as those of preventing a potential international problem from developing at the heart of Central-Eastern Europe, would demand that the position expressed by the Minister for Europe should be strengthened, made more specific and followed up with political measures. Such measures should be taken, nationally as well as in a coalition with the EU, the US and Canada, and other countries in the region, firstly in order effectively to discourage the regime of Lukashenka from continuing the repressions and to secure the political prisoners’ release, as the immediate objective.
5. Secondly, pressure needs to be sustained. The UK and the West ought not to seek rapprochement with the ruling undemocratic regime in Belarus over the heads of those in the country who seek to establish a truly democratic society and at the expense of the country’s democratic future. Measures of effective economic discouragement of interests linked to the overall stability and resources of the regime ruling in Belarus, as well as those of its leaders and functionaries, need to be introduced.
6. Thirdly, effective measures will need to be applied and managed in order to achieve the restoration of democracy in Belarus, so as to prevent new political repressions and other human rights violations, which have only intensified in Belarus over the past 16 years of autocratic rule. A lasting stabilisation solution can be achieved only through a return to a constitutionally legitimate and democratic rule in that country. As has been recognised by the pro-democratic community there, given the nature and structure of the regime currently entrenched in Belarus, the only remaining way for that by the peaceful means of election is holding new free elections without Lukashenka:
* Such elections must be run by a fully independent commission, appropriately accredited and recognised as such;
* Such elections need to be made democratic and transparent by securing a comprehensive range of democratic legal amendments and practical assurances of a free and fair campaign and vote (including transparent ballot boxes, adequate access by observers at all stages, etc.).
* The country’s monopolistic state electronic media must be stripped of its role as the incumbent regime’s propaganda mouthpiece. Freedom of speech needs to be restored in Belarus;
* An audit and investigation, by an independent commission including international representatives, must be conducted into the vote-rigging in Belarus committed at all levels, holding to account all those engaged in elections rigging and in political repression in Belarus, during and after this election campaign as well as since 1996. Furthermore, the role of all such individuals in the political life of Belarus during the transition period will need to be constrained.
7. In the meantime, Lukashenka should not be recognised as a fully legitimate and lawful Head of State of Belarus, in particular after his term of office based on the 2006 election expires. Measures need to be taken by the democratic international community to assert that no international treaties Lukashenka might sign on behalf of Belarus in that capacity would have automatic international legal validity.
8. In addition, the Association supports the arguments and measures outlined in the Statements by the Rada of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in Exile of the 20th December and 28th December 2001, as well as the “Appeal by Belarusian Democratic Communities to International Organizations, Societies and Elected Political Leaders of the Free World”.
03 January 2011