Procedure : 2011/2514(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0046/2011

Texts tabled :

B7-0046/2011

Debates :

PV 19/01/2011 - 12
CRE 19/01/2011 - 12

Votes :

PV 20/01/2011 - 7.3
CRE 20/01/2011 - 7.3

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2011)0022

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 125kWORD 71k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0044/2011
17.1.2011
PE455.874v01-00
 
B7-0046/2011

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure


on the situation in Belarus


Adrian Severin, Kristian Vigenin, Justas Paleckis, Marek Siwiec, Richard Howitt on behalf of the S&D Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Belarus  
B7‑0046/2011

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Belarus, in particular that of 17 December 2009,

–   having regard to Council decision 2010/639/CFSP of 25 October 2010 concerning restrictive measures against certain officials of Belarus, extending both the restrictive measures and their suspension until 31 October 2011,

and to the Statement of the preliminary findings and conclusions on the presidential election in Belarus by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) of 20 December 2010,

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the Council on 25 October 2010 ‘called on the Belarusian authorities to ensure that the (presidential) elections are conducted in line with international norms and standards for democratic elections and Belarus’s commitments in the OSCE and the UN’,

B.  whereas the Council reaffirmed its readiness to deepen its relations with Belarus provided that the country made progress towards democracy, human rights and the rule of law,

C. whereas the Council, after evaluating developments in Belarus, has decided to extend the restrictive measures against certain Belarusian officials but to suspend their application until 31 October 2011,

D. whereas Belarus has committed itself to consider the recommendations made by the OSCE and its Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) regarding improvements to its electoral law in order to bring it into line with international standards for democratic elections and to consult OSCE on the proposed amendments thereto; whereas the National Assembly of Belarus has passed a reform of the Electoral Code without prior consultation of the OSCE,

E.  whereas, according to the OSCE PA and OSCE/ODIHR ‘Statement of the preliminary findings and conclusions on the presidential election in Belarus’, some improvements took place in the run-up to the elections but they were overshadowed by the serious irregularities on the voting day and the violence that erupted on the night of 19 December,

F.  Whereas over 700 persons were detained for their participation in the demonstration on 19 December in Minsk, most of whom have been released after serving short administrative sentences while 24 opposition activists and journalists, including six presidential candidates, have been charged for ‘organizing mass disorder’ accompanied by violent attacks and armed resistance that could carry prison sentences of up to 15 years; whereas a further 14 persons may soon be charged,

G. whereas 15 of the detainees are prisoners of conscience recognised by Amnesty International and they are denied access to legal counsel and medical care,

H. whereas the police crackdown on the demonstration of 19 December 2010 and further measures taken by the law enforcement agencies against democratic opposition, free media and civil society activists were unequivocally condemned by the EU High Representative, the President of the European Parliament and the UN General Secretary,

1.  Considers, on the basis of the findings of the Preliminary Conclusions of the OSCE PA and OSCE/ODIHR, that the Presidential elections of 19 December 2010 failed to meet international standards of free, fair and transparent elections; considers this vote as yet another missed opportunity for a democratic transition in Belarus and appeals, in the light of numerous and serious irregularities reported by OSCE/ODIHR, for new elections to be held;

2.  Condemns the use of brutal force by the police and KGB services against the protesters on Election Day as examples of severe violation of basic democratic principles, such as freedom of assembly and freedom of expression and human rights;

3.  Strongly condemns the arrest and detention of over 700 peaceful protesters and seven out of nine alternative presidential candidates; expresses its deep concern about criminal proceedings engaged in by the Belarusian authorities against several presidential candidates, leaders of the democratic opposition as well as great number of civil society activists, journalists, teachers and students;

4.  Requests an immediate and unconditional release of all those detained during the Election Day and in its aftermath and demands immediate provision of independent legal advice and medical care to those in need;

5.  Condemns the repressions and harassment of civil society activists which followed Election Day, including mass searches in private apartments, offices of the media outlets and the civil society organisations, expulsions from universities and workplaces;

6.  Condemns the blockage of a number of major Internet websites, including networking channels and opposition websites, on Election Day in Belarus and underlines that current media legislation in Belarus does not comply with international standards, therefore calls on the Belarusian authorities to revise and amend it;

7.  Deeply regrets the decision of the Belarusian authorities to terminate the mission of the OSCE Office in Belarus and urges Belarus to reverse its decision;

8.  Calls on the Commission to support, with all financial and political means, the efforts of Belarusian civil society, independent media and non-governmental organisations in Belarus to promote democracy and oppose the regime; upholds the request of the Belarusian opposition to increase financial support for political representation of Belarusian democratic opposition and civil society in Brussels; also calls on the Commission to halt the ongoing cooperation and to withdraw its assistance provided to the state-owned media in Belarus;

9.  Recommends that the European Commission engage in dialogue, consultations and political coordination with the non-EU neighbours of Belarus, who traditionally have special relations with this country and are also partners of the EU, namely Russia and Ukraine, in order to maximise the efficiency of EU policy towards Belarus and to cooperate in properly balancing the reaction against the democratic deficit and human rights violations in Belarus with the need to avoid the latter’s international isolation;

10. Urges the Commission to continue and increase financial aid to the European Humanities University (EHU) based in Vilnius, Lithuania, to increase the number of scholarships for Belarusian students repressed for their civic activities and expelled from universities and to contribute to the ‘Solidarity with Belarus’ donors’ conference in Warsaw (2/02/2010) and following the conference in Vilnius;

11. Calls on the Council, the Commission and the EU High Representative to immediately re‑apply the visa ban and financial asset freeze to Belarusian state officials, members of the judiciary and security officers who can be considered responsible for the vote-rigging and post-election brutal repressions and arrests of the members of the opposition; the sanctions should remain in force minimum until all political prisoners and detainees are released and exempted from charges;

12. Calls on other democratic governments in Europe and in the world to impose similar sanctions on representatives of the Belarusian regime; stresses that any sanctions applied against the Belarusian regime must target officials and must not lead to further isolation or worsening of the situation of Belarusian citizens by interrupting their existing and preventing possible links to EU citizens in business, scientific, cultural, touristic and other areas; underlines that the reshaping of EU policy towards Belarus should result in growing recognition among Belarusian citizens of the need to cooperate with the EU;

13. Calls on the Belarusian authorities to allow an independent international investigation of the events of 19‑20 December 2010;

14. Calls on the EU institutions and Members States to suspend high-level contacts with the Belarusian authorities, limiting them to technical consultations only;

15. Recommends to the Member States of the European Union and partner countries to review their economic and business relations with Belarus;

16. Calls on the EC, Council and the EU HR to intensify work on the negotiation directives for visa facilitation and readmission agreements in order to enhance people-to-people contacts; independently of the progress on visa facilitation, calls on the EU Member States to consider lowering visa fees for Belarusian citizens and even abolishing them for students, scientists and artists; emphasises that the visa liberalisation process, which should be implemented as soon as possible, should result in cheap and easily available Schengen visas for Belarusian citizens;

17. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the EU High Representative, the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the President, Government and Parliament of Belarus and the Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe and the OSCE.

Last updated: 18 January 2011Legal notice