Procedure : 2008/2640(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B6-0527/2008

Texts tabled :

B6-0527/2008

Debates :

PV 08/10/2008 - 17
CRE 08/10/2008 - 17

Votes :

PV 09/10/2008 - 7.8
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2008)0470

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 94kWORD 47k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B6-0527/2008
1.10.2008
PE413.318
 
B6‑0527/2008
to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and Commission
pursuant to Rule 103(2) of the Rules of Procedure
by Jan Marinus Wiersma, Justas Vincas Paleckis, Pasqualina Napoletano and Klaus Hänsch
on behalf of the PSE Group
on the situation in Belarus

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Belarus 
B6‑0527/2008

The European Parliament,

–  placehaving regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in placeBelarus,

–  having regard to the OSCE Election Observation Mission Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions,

–  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 15 and 16 September 2008,

–  having regard to the Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the EU concerning the release of Sergei Parsjukevich and Andrei Kim,

–  having regard to the Commission's declaration of 21 November 2006 on the European Union's readiness to renew its relationship with Belarus and its people within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP),

–  having regard to its Rule 103 of the Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas parliamentary elections were held in placeplaceBelarus on 28 September 2008,

B.  whereas there were some minor improvements in the conduct of the 28 September parliamentary elections; whereas, however, the OSCE Election Observation Mission concluded in a preliminary statement that the elections fell short of OSCE commitments for democratic elections,

C.  whereas out of a total of 263 candidates 70 represented the opposition, but no opposition candidates were elected to the parliament,

D.  whereas President Lukashenka had publicly called on 10 July for the elections to be conducted openly and democratically, and reiterated this during a television appearance on 29 August,

E.  whereas the elections took place in a strictly controlled environment and according to rules that significantly constrained campaigning and the role played by political parties,

F.  whereas regulations concerning the printing and distribution of campaign materials were restrictive,

G.  whereas the request from the United Democratic Forces (UDF) for the government to engage in an open dialogue on the election process remained unheeded; whereas the opposition candidates were divided over the issue of withdrawing from the electoral process, referring to their lack of confidence in the process of voting and in the expected conduct of the vote count,

H.  whereas, while the Constitution of Belarus forbids censorship, monopolisation of the media and guarantees freedom of expression, there is a general lack of media presenting independent views and opinions,

placeI.  whereas there was no large-scale independent non-party domestic observation effort undertaken on election day,

J.  whereas the count and tabulation procedures did not provide for transparency and accountability of the vote count; whereas, according to the OSCE EOM, the count was assessed as bad or very bad in 48 per cent of polling stations visited; whereas, where access was possible, several cases of deliberate falsification of results were observed,

K.  whereas the OSCE monitors were prevented or hindered from observing the vote count in 35 per cent of cases, which compromised the transparency of this fundamental element of the election process,

L.  whereas around 800 opposition supporters protested in placeplaceMinsk late on election day,

M.  whereas the Belarusian authorities released political prisoners Alyaksandr Kazulin, Syarhei Parsyukevich and Andrei Kim between 16 and 20 August,

1.  Endorses the OSCE EOM conclusions and findings on the 28 September parliamentary elections in placeplaceBelarus; notes some minor improvements in the conduct of these elections, but regrets that the elections ultimately fell short of OSCE commitments for democratic elections;

2.  Considers that the Belarusian Government has missed an opportunity to demonstrate its respect for democratic values; is disappointed by the fact that these elections failed to signify real progress towards respect for international and European standards;

3.  Calls on the Government of Belarus to undertake substantial further efforts to conduct genuinely democratic elections in line with OSCE commitments; stresses, in particular, that serious concerns remain with regard to the fundamental rights of freedom of assembly and expression, and access of voters to a plurality of views, as is necessary to make an informed choice; regrets that political parties played a minor role, and restrictions imposed by the state authorities did not allow for a vibrant campaign with real competition;

4.  Is concerned that the opposition-staged rally on September 28 in Minsk was characterised as a gross violation of public order by Interior Ministry, as well as by reports that information on the rally will be forwarded to the Public Prosecutor's Office for a legal assessment; calls on the Belarusian authorities to respect the fundamental rights of freedom of assembly and expression;

5.  Welcomes the release by the Belarusian authorities of political prisoners Alyaksandr Kazulin, Syarhei Parsyukevich and Andrei Kim between 16 and 20 August; notes with satisfaction that their release means that no further internationally recognised political prisoners are currently incarcerated in Belarus;

6.  Regards the release of all political prisoners as a positive step towards restoring relations between the EU and placeBelarus; remains concerned, nevertheless, at other key aspects of the human rights situation in placeplaceBelarus;

7.  Recalls the possibilities offered by the European neighbourhood policy, included in the document on the European Union’s offer to Belarus of November 2006; reiterates its position that positive and concrete measures that may lead to a gradual re-engagement with Belarus will depend on the progress of Belarus in embracing the values of democracy and human rights;

8.  Calls on the Belarusian Government to uphold and ensure the protection of all fundamental human rights and ensure placeplaceBelarus' compliance with international standards, in particular with Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);

9.  Calls on the Belarusian Government to confirm its statements about its willingness to improve cooperation with the EU and to create more favourable conditions for the commencement of discussions between the EU and Belarus, by paying close attention to the internal situation in the country and launching negotiations on political, economic, social and human rights issues involving all political parties, opposition forces, NGOs, trade unions and youth organisations;

10.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to take further steps towards the facilitation and liberalisation of visa procedures for Belarusian citizens, as such action is crucial to fulfilling the main goal of EU policy towards Belarus, namely facilitating and intensifying people-to-people contacts and democratising the country; urges them, in this context, to consider the possibilities for lowering the cost of visas for Belarusian citizens entering the Schengen territory, which is the only way to prevent Belarus and its citizens from becoming increasingly isolated;

11.  Condemns the fact that placeBelarusplace is the only country in Europe which still has the death penalty, contrary to European and universal values;

12.  Calls on the Belarusian authorities not to create any obstacles for Members of the European Parliament and national parliamentarians preventing them from visiting the country;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Parliamentary Assemblies of the OSCE and the Council of Europe, and the Government of Belarus.

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