The EU must impose a travel ban and asset freeze on Belarusian officials, judges and security officers involved in the violent election crackdown of 19 December 2010, say MEPs in a resolution adopted on Thursday. Lifting these measures should be conditional upon the release of imprisoned opposition leaders, they add.
The resolution condemns in the strongest terms possible the brutal repression by the police and KGB on Election Day and "calls for an independent and impartial international investigation into the events" under the OSCE auspices. MEPs also demand a re-run of the elections in accordance with international standards.
In line with the joint statement issued on 12 January by European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek and several EP committees and delegations, MEPs restate their demand for an EU travel ban and financial asset freeze to be imposed on Belarusian authorities, state officials, members of the judiciary and security officers responsible for the brutal post-election repression. These sanctions, they say, should remain in force "minimum until all political prisoners and detainees are released".
Further targeted economic sanctions against the government should be considered, believe MEPs, such as a freeze of all financial aid provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Support the opposition movement
The EU must ease visa access to the EU for Belarusian citizens and amplify its financial support to independent media (such as TV Belsat, European Radio for Belarus or Radio Racja) and NGOs promoting democracy and opposing the regime. At the same time, the Commission's assistance to state-owned media in the country must be halted and NGOs banned in the country should be registered and be able to benefit from EU programmes.
State terror against a child
MEPs note with concern the attempts of the Belarusian authorities to take into state custody Danil Sannikov, 3-year-old son of presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov and investigative journalist Irina Khalip, after both parents were imprisoned on Election Day. Danil is currently living with his grandmother.