With great concern we, the Group of the Unified European Left in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, are following the developments in Belarus, especially during and after the Presidential elections of August 9.
After an elections campaign that was clearly neither free nor fair, many citizens of Belarus have shown their great discontent with these elections and its so-called result that the incumbent president won with a landslide, while support of other candidates was visibly substantial but not reflected in the ‘official’ outcome.
The Belarusian authorities have reacted in a most brutal way to peaceful protests against manipulation of the elections results, by using unacceptable violence against protesters and by putting thousands of them in jail, where many of them are subject of torture or inhumane and degrading treatment.
In recent years Belarusian authorities and the Belarusian Parliament have searched ways to come closer to our organisation. What is happening now, surely must lead to put these developments on hold, unless the Belarusian authorities:
- immediately stop the violence against peaceful protesters and release all arrested citizens,
- respect fundamental rights of the Belarusian citizens with regard to freedom of assembly and the right to express themselves freely – including the candidates that participated in the last presidential elections,
- start a meaningful dialogue with the political opposition on how to get out of the stalemate in which both the incumbent president and the main candidate of the opposition consider themselves as winner of the presidential elections of August 9,
- open the possibility of a soon re-run of these elections, this time internationally monitored by the main European organisations: the Council of Europe (and its Parliamentary Assembly) and the OSCE (and its Parliamentary Assembly). Monitors from the European Union (and its Parliament) and the CIS (and its Parliamentary Assembly) could also participate in the monitoring of such a re-run of these elections.
The Group of the Unified European Left has therefore called on the Secretary General and Chairperson of the Council of Europe, as well as the President of the Parliamentary Assembly “to get into contact, as soon as possible, with the Belarusian authorities, including the Belarusian Parliament, and the representatives of the Belarusian political opposition, to seek for a peaceful way out from the actual political stalemate and the unacceptable violence against Belarusian citizens”.