Mededelingen

Joint statement on the latest crackdown on CSOs in Belarus

Joint statement by:

· the Chair of the Delegation for relations with Belarus, MEP Robert BIEDROŃ, and

· the European Parliament's Standing Rapporteur on Belarus, MEP Petras AUŠTREVIČIUS

on the use of migrants by A. Lukashenka's regime to destabilise Lithuania, and on the latest crackdown on independent journalists, civil society activists and human rights defenders in Belarus

Brussels, 15 July 2021 - "We deplore the despicable instrumentalisation of illegal migrants by the Belarusian regime as part of hybrid measures aimed at pressuring the EU in response to its fourth set of restrictive measures. More specifically, a spectacular surge in illegal migrants is being orchestrated by Aliaksandr Lukashenka's acolytes in order to destabilise Lithuania, an EU Member State that has led by example by denouncing widespread human rights violations and providing asylum to many Belarusian opposition figures.

At the same time, we strongly condemn the coordinated attacks on prominent civil society activists, human rights defenders and journalists, including police raids, searches of offices and homes, as well as other measures designed to prevent them from revealing the truth about the scale of regime's crimes. We are deeply concerned that at least twelve non-state media outlets such as Nasha Niva, as well as the Belarusian Association of Journalists, the Association of Belarusians Worldwide 'Batskaushchyna', the Centre for Economic Research (BEROC), the Human Rights Centre 'Viasna' (whose founder, 2020 Sakharov Prize laureate Ales Bialiatski, and Deputy Chairperson Valiantsin Stefanovic, have not been reachable since the police raided their homes) and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee have been targeted by this latest crackdown.[...]

Joint Statement on the Belarusian regime's decision to suspend its participation in the Eastern Partnership

Joint Statement by the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, MEP David McALLISTER, the Chair of the Delegation for Relations with Belarus, MEP Robert BIEDROŃ, and the European Parliament's Standing Rapporteur on Belarus, MEP Petras AUŠTREVIČIUS

Brussels, 30 June 2021 - "By suspending its participation in the Eastern Partnership, recalling its Ambassador to the EU and suggesting to the Head of the EU Delegation to also return to Brussels for consultations, the regime of Aliaksandr Lukashenka has once again demonstrated an irrational and isolationist behaviour, which we deplore and reject. We also condemn its intention to suspend the readmission agreement with the EU, which is an act of retaliation against the recently expanded EU sanctions and paves the way for facilitating illegal migration to the EU. [...]

Joint statement on the adoption of a fourth set of sanctions against Lukashenka's regime

Joint statement by:

· the Chair of the Delegation for relations with Belarus, MEP Robert BIEDROŃ, and

· the European Parliament's Standing Rapporteur on Belarus, MEP Petras AUŠTREVIČIUS

on the adoption of a fourth set of sanctions against Lukashenka's regime

Brussels, 25 June 2021 - "We welcome wholeheartedly the endorsement by the EU leaders of a fourth set of restrictive measures targeting Aliaksandr Lukashenka's regime, in line with the European Parliament's resolution of 10 June 2021.

Coordinated with Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, these additional sanctions hit 78 Belarusian officials, including the transport and defence Ministers, under the form of asset freezes and travel bans, as well as eight state entities.

Furthermore, the existing arms embargo is tightened and exports of communications equipment that could be used for spying are banned. Belarus' access to the EU capital markets is restricted; so is trade in petroleum products, potash, and goods used for the production or manufacturing of tobacco products.

These measures were much needed following last month's outrageous interception of an EU civilian plane, the subsequent arrest of a prominent journalist, Mr Raman Pratasevich, and of his companion, Ms Sofia Sapega, and the despicable use of migrants to destabilise Lithuania, an EU Member State that had led by example by providing safe-haven to many Belarusian opposition figures. [...]

Joint Statement on the continued detention of political prisoners in Belarus

Joint Statement by the Chair of the Delegation for relations with Belarus, MEP Robert Biedroń and the European Parliament's Standing Rapporteur on Belarus, MEP Petras Auštrevičius, on the continued detention of political prisoners in Belarus


Brussels, 2 June 2021 - "Almost ten months have passed since last year's fraudulent presidential election in Belarus. Aliaksandr Lukashenka's regime has reacted with crude brutality and lawlessness to the Belarusian people's legitimate struggle for freedom. As a consequence, every day brings us sorrowful news. [...]

Joint Statement on the arrest of Raman Pratasevich

Brussels, 23 May 2021 - "Today, Belarusian authorities have diverted a passenger plane flying from Athens to Vilnius, using an alleged bomb threat as a pretext to have it intercepted by the Belarusian air force and oblige it to perform an emergency landing in Minsk. The sole purpose of this horrendous manoeuvre was manifestly to arrest one of the passengers of the plane, Mr Raman Pratasevich, co-founder and former editor-in-chief of the opposition Nexta channel. The state-owned news agency Belta admitted that the whole operation had been carried out by Aliaksandr Lukashenka's direct order.

The Nexta channel has been a major source of independent information for Belarusian citizens, and Mr Pratasevich has been vocal about the regime's dire human rights record. He has been living in exile in Poland and Lithuania since 2019 to avoid fabricated criminal charges and may now face death penalty in Belarus. [...]

Joint Statement on the crackdown on the Tut.by media portal in Belarus

Brussels, 19 May 2021 - "We strongly condemn the unrelenting repression by Aliaksandr Lukashenka's regime against independent media, underscored by yesterday's crackdown on Tut.by - the most influential online media outlet in Belarus.

The authorities have raided Tut.by's editorial office and regional branches, searched the homes of several of its staff members and initiated criminal proceedings on far-fetched tax evasion grounds. In addition, at the Prosecutor General's request, the Ministry of Information has blocked its website, invoking alleged violations of the highly controversial law on mass media. By now, at least thirteen Tut.by journalists and staff members are still being detained, while the whereabouts of some others are still unknown. [...]

Statement by the Chair of the D-BY on the renewed attacks on activists of the Polish minority in Belarus

Brussels, 14 April 2021 - "I condemn the renewed and malicious attacks by Aliaksandr Lukashenka's regime on representatives of the Polish minority in Belarus, which are part of a coordinated anti-Polish and anti-EU propaganda by the regime.

I strongly deplore the fact that Mr Andrzej Pisalnik, prominent Polish activist and Secretary of board of the ZPB - who was invited to give his testimony during the today's meeting of the Delegation for relations with Belarus, was arrested together with his wife Inessa Todryk-Pisalnik, right before the Delegation's meeting, in an outrageous attempt to prevent him from giving a testimony about the scale of repressions against the Polish minority in Belarus to the representatives of the EU institutions. [...]


Joint Statement on the occasion of Belarus’ Freedom Day

Brussels, 25 March 2021 - "Every year, Belarusians commemorate on 25 March the proclamation of the Belarusian People's Republic on that date in 1918 - a glorious but brief page in Belarus' history, as the short-lived Republic succumbed, the very next year, to the Red Army's invasion.
In this context, we are deeply worried by Aliaksandr Lukashenka' recent attempts to re-write Belarusian history, undermine the Belarusian cultural heritage and pursue a persecution campaign against the Polish minority in order to divert the attention of the public from the chaos caused by his own usurpation of power. [...]

Joint Statement on the latest sentencing of journalists in Belarus

Brussels, 18 February 2021 - "We have been appalled to learn that two Belsat journalists have been sentenced today to two years in prison for reporting live from a rally commemorating Raman Bandarenka - a 31-year-old art teacher beaten to death on 11 November 2020 by plain- clothed masked men. Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova have been found guilty of "organising public events aimed at disrupting civil order", a far-fetched charge that is commonly used by Belarus' politically-controlled courts to stifle dissenting voices. [...]

Joint Statement on the convening of the so-called All Belarusian People’s Assembly

Brussels, 11 February 2021 - "Six months have passed since the fraudulent presidential election in Belarus. Despite ruthless repression from the state security apparatus and politically controlled courts, Belarusian people continue to brave all dangers to demand that their political rights and fundamental freedoms be respected.
In this context, we put no stock in today's convening of the so-called All Belarusian People's Assembly announced by Aliaksandr Lukashenka. [...]
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