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Procedure : 2004/2593(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B6-0104/2004

Texts tabled :

B6-0104/2004

Debates :

Votes :

PV 28/10/2004 - 4.8

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2004)0045

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
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25.10.2004
PE 350.829
 
B6‑0104/2004
to wind up debate on statements by the Council and Commission
pursuant to Rule 103(2) of the Rules of Procedure
by Elisabeth Schroedter, Joost Lagendijk and Marie Anne Isler Béguin
on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group
on the situation in Belarus

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Belarus 
B6‑0104/2004

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Belarus, in particular its resolution of 16 September 2004,

–  having regard, in particular, to its resolution of 24 October 1996 on the situation in Belarus, in which it decided that no further steps would be taken towards ratification of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement until clear signals had been given by the Belarussian authorities of their intention fully to respect basic democratic and human rights,

–  having regard, in particular, to its resolution of 5 July 2001 on Belarus adopted prior to the 2001 presidential elections, and to the reports of the Parliamentary Troika (OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly and European Parliament) published after the 2000 general election (30 January 2001) and the 2001 presidential election (4 October 2001),

–  having regard, in particular, to its resolution of 11 February 2003 on relations between the European Union and Belarus: towards a future partnership,

–  having regard to the parliamentary elections and the constitutional referendum which took place in Belarus on 17 October 2004,

–  having regard to the statement of preliminary findings and conclusions by the International Election Observation Mission for the parliamentary elections in Belarus,

–  having regard to the declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the parliamentary elections and the referendum of 17 October 2004 in Belarus,

–  having regard to the declaration by the Head of the OSCE Office in Minsk on the attacks on opposition politicians in Minsk,

–  having regard to the Belarus Democracy Act of 2004, which was signed by the President of the USA on 20 October 2004,

–  having regard to Rule 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas the elections of 17 October 2004 were the second to be held under the Constitution of 1996, which was adopted through an undemocratic referendum not recognised by the EU, the Council of Europe and the OSCE,

B.   whereas the International Election Observation Mission for the parliamentary elections in Belarus has come to the conclusion that the Belarussian authorities failed to ensure the fundamental conditions necessary for the will of the people to serve as a basis for the authority of the government and that democratic principles were largely disregarded by the authorities,

C.   whereas the elections were marred by flaws and deficiencies, the opposition was massively prevented from campaigning and according to the OSCE/ODHIR there were a large number of rejections of applications for candidature (312 out of 692) as well as police raids on campaign offices, the detention of a candidate and detention or harassment of campaign workers and domestic observers,

D.   whereas District Election Commissions de-registered at least 20 candidates in the run-up to polling day, including 10 after the start of the early voting, and whereas opposition politicians had difficulty in gaining access to the state-controlled printed and electronic media while, overall, Lukashenko and the Government received 75 per cent of the media coverage,

E.   whereas representatives of the opposition were excluded from the electoral committees and local and international observers were often prevented from fully observing the voting process and were in some cases refused access to polling stations,

F.   whereas by simultaneously holding a constitutional referendum Lukashenko clearly aimed to overshadow the parliamentary elections,

G.   whereas during the days following the elections peaceful demonstrations by students and the opposition were violently halted by the Belarussian riot police and whereas the leader of the United Civic Party, Anatoly Lebedko, was hospitalised after having been beaten up in a public restaurant, following his capture by the police,

H.   whereas the leader of the Belarussian Social Democratic Party, Mikalai Statkevich, was arrested together with about 90 other persons after these demonstrations and detained; whereas several journalists were prevented from reporting news of the demonstration and arrested but released after identification,

I.   whereas the young journalist Vieronika Cherkasova, working for the trade union newspaper “Solidarnosh”, was found murdered in her flat under unclear circumstances,

J.   whereas massive crackdowns on free media took place, including threats to the personal integrity of journalists, during the demonstrations on 19 October; whereas the police assaulted a number of Belarussian and foreign journalists, stopping the street action in downtown Minsk, special units beat the cameramen of the Russian NTV and REN TV channels and smashed the camera of the NTV crew, security forces hit a Radio Liberty reporter in the stomach and the Associated Press photo reporter Syarhey Hryts was detained together with some protesters,

K.   regretting that the Russian Government recognised the outcome of the elections without reservation,

L.   whereas these elections and the climate of fear and abuse in which they were conducted have rendered yet more remote the likelihood that Belarus can integrate into Europe's democratic structures and institutions,

M.  whereas the sluggish economic situation, with part of the country still suffering from the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster, does not allow the imposition of broad international sanctions that would mainly harm the population and not the political leadership,

1.   Rejects the results of the parliamentary elections and the referendum of 17 October which failed to meet international standards for democratic elections and are not to be considered free and fair;

2.   Strongly condemns the violent attacks committed by the Belarussian regime against students, leading opposition figures and journalists following peaceful political demonstrations in Minsk; urges the Belarussian authorities to immediately release all those who were detained after these demonstrations and to drop all the charges;

3.   Expresses its condolences to the family of Vieronika Cherkasova, paying tribute to an important personality who encouraged freedom of information; urges the Belarussian authorities to investigate this crime seriously and prosecute the murderer and the instigators of this act;

4.   Believes that the way in which these elections and the referendum were conducted and the following violent attacks on political opponents of the regime confirm once more that Lukashenko is moving towards the establishment of a dictatorial regime in Belarus;

5.   Calls on the Commission, the Council and the governments of the Member States to continue and wherever possible to reinforce their policy of isolation of Lukashenko and the members of his regime until clear steps are taken which demonstrate their willingness to respect democratic values and the rule of law;

6.   Calls on the Council to decide on a set of targeted sanctions against Belarus, including an expansion of the visa prohibition regulation for the authorities of Belarus together with reinforced material support through humanitarian and economic aid to the municipalities which oppose the regime;

7.   Urges the Commission, the Council and the governments of the Member States at the same time to increase - together with other democratic countries and international institutions - support for all remaining democratic forces in Belarus and to assist more effectively those people in Belarussian civil society working for democratic change in Belarus by reconsidering the EU financial instruments for that country;

8.   Calls, in this respect, on the Council and the Commission to raise the question of Belarus with President Putin at the next EU-Russia summit;

9.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Government and Parliament of Belarus, the Government and President of Russia, the OSCE and the Council of Europe.

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