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Proposition de résolution - B8-0261/2017Proposition de résolution
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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation in Belarus

4.4.2017 - (2017/2647(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Petras Auštrevičius, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Urmas Paet, Marian Harkin, Louis Michel, Ivan Jakovčić, Marielle de Sarnez, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Dita Charanzová, Jozo Radoš, Hilde Vautmans, Pavel Telička, Frédérique Ries, Marietje Schaake, Gérard Deprez, Carolina Punset, Nathalie Griesbeck, Petr Ježek, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Cecilia Wikström, Martina Dlabajová, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Valentinas Mazuronis, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Jasenko Selimovic, Filiz Hyusmenova on behalf of the ALDE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0253/2017

Procédure : 2017/2647(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the situation in Belarus


The European Parliament,

¾having regard to its previous resolutions and recommendations on Belarus,

¾having regard to the statement by the Chair of its Delegation for relations with Belarus of 27 March 2016 on the recent events in Belarus,

¾having regard to the statements by the EEAS Spokesperson of 17 and 25 March 2017 on the events in the run up to and during Freedom Day in Belarus,

having regard to the statements by the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Belarus of 14 and 28 of March 2017 on recurring violence against peaceful demonstrators in Belarus,

having regard to the statement of the OSCE PA human rights committee of 27 March 2017 on mass arrests of peaceful protesters and unlawful detentions in Belarus,

having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders,

having regard to the Council decision on Belarus of 25 February 2016 on lifting restrictive measures against 170 individuals and three Belarusian companies,

having regard to the parliamentary elections held on 11 September 2016 and to the presidential elections held on 11 October 2015,

having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,

A.Whereas the government of Belarus introduced Presidential Decree No. 3 “On the Prevention of Social Dependence”, which sanctions unemployment by imposing a penalty ranging from a fee to imprisonment on citizens who have been working less than preferred by the government;


B.whereas, in February and March 2017, the citizens of Belarus have initiated peaceful demonstrations against this legislation and against the construction of a business centre near Kurapaty, a memorial site for the victims of Stalin;


C.whereas the authorities have responded violently against these demonstrations, in particular on 25-26 March; whereas the security forces have attacked the protesters, beating women, minors and elderly; whereas hundreds of protesters have been arrested;


D.Whereas at least 26 people, including Zmitser Dashkevich, a former political prisoner and a leader of “Young Front” movement, have been detained by special services and are currently under arrest under allegations of plotting a riot, an offence punishable by imprisonment for up to three years;


E.Whereas some of the opposition leaders, such as Mikalai Statkevich and Uladzimir Nyaklyayev, both presidential candidates of 2010, have been detained just prior to the Freedom Day in order to prevent them from leading the demonstration; whereas Pavel Seviarynets, Vitali Rymashevski, Anatol Liabedzka, Yuri Hubarevich along with a number of civic activists have been arrested over the course of March; whereas around 60 human rights observers were preventatively detained;


F.whereas a large group of human rights defenders have been detained while observing peaceful demonstrations; whereas on 25 March the office of the Human Rights Centre “Viasna” was raided by the police; whereas prior to this other human rights defenders, such as Oleg Volchek, a head of the Human Rights Centre “Legal Assistance to the Population”, and Anatoli Paplavni, a member of the Gomel chapter of the Human Rights Centre “Viasna”, have been detained and sentenced to short term imprisonments; whereas Leanid Sudalenka, member of “Viasna”, has been detained and convicted for having submitted over 200 citizens' complaints against the provisions of the above mentioned Presidential Decree No. 3;


G.Whereas according to the Belarusian Association of Journalists (BAJ) 120 incidents of violations of journalists’ rights have been registered; whereas on 10 March in Babruysk, 155 copies of “Novy Chas” newspaper were confiscated during a search of civil activists' offices, two journalists were later sentenced to heavy fines, three were condemned to up to 15 days of administrative detention and four are still awaiting trial;


H.Whereas Belarus is an OSCE participating state and has agreed to respect the rights of peaceful assembly and demonstration; whereas the above mentioned mass arrests, excessive use of force against protesters and the reported raids of civil society organisations are clear violations of these commitments;


I.Whereas, as highlighted by Miklos Haraszti, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, the events of the last weekend prove the pre-meditated character of the repressive measures, and show an open return by the Government to its old policy of mass repression against its citizens


J.Whereas Belarus remains the only country in Europe still carrying out capital punishments; whereas one execution has been scheduled in 2017, in contrary to the commitments made by the authorities to consider the introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty;


K.Whereas since 1994 no free and fair elections have been conducted in Belarus under electoral legislation compliant with OSCE/ODIHR internationally recognised standards;


L.Whereas the EU lifted most of the restriction measures in regard to Belarusian officials and legal entities in February 2016 as a gesture of good will to encourage Belarus to improve its human rights, democracy and the rule of law record; whereas the Council in its conclusions on Belarus of 15 February 2016 stressed the need to enhance EU-Belarus cooperation in a number of economic, trade and assistance related fields, that opened the possibility for Belarus to apply for EIB and EBRD financing;


M.Whereas one of the objectives of Belarus' participation in the Eastern Partnership and its parliamentary branch Euronest is to intensify cooperation between the country and the EU; whereas the Belarussian parliament has no official status in the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly;


N.Whereas the European Union is committed to a stable, democratic and prosperous future for Belarus, for the benefit of its people; whereas a significant improvement in freedom of speech and freedom of the media, respect for the political rights of ordinary citizens and opposition activists alike and respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights are all prerequisites for better relations between the EU and Belarus;


1. Expresses its concern over the latest developments in Belarus, in particular over the rigged parliamentary elections in September 2016, the application of capital punishments and the attacks on peaceful protesters across the country; highlights a clear need for a broader democratisation process in the country;

2. Condemns the recent repressions of peaceful protesters as unprecedented in scale since 2010; calls upon Belarusian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all detainees, including against journalists prosecuted for covering the nationwide protests, and to drop judicial charges against all those arrested or prosecuted for their participation in the peaceful demonstrations or their efforts to monitor them; urges the Belarusian authorities to cease harassing and obstructing journalists doing their work;

3. Urges the Belarusian authorities to immediately carry out thorough and impartial investigations into all allegations of arbitrary detention and other violations of the rights of protesters, including journalists, human rights defenders, civil and political activists in connection to the recent demonstrations; Believes that in case of absence of such investigations, the European Union will have to apply new restrictive measures vis-à-vis those highest Belarusian officials responsible for the recent crackdowns;

4. Regrets that above mentioned events took place exactly one year after the EU Council’s decision to go ahead with the re-engagement policy on Minsk; reiterates that the use of force against anyone exercising her/his right to peaceful protest cannot be justified under any circumstances, and repressions that violate the right to freedom of speech and assembly are contrary to Belarus’ international obligations;

5. Considers the presidential decree “On the Prevention of Social Dependence” as an arbitrary and harsh measure, violating international human rights, estimated to affect more than 470 000 Belarusians;

6. Urges the Belarusian authorities to stop the harassment of its civil society, to allow full and free legal functioning of public organisations and, in particular to repeal without any delay Article 193/1 of the Criminal Code, which penalises the activities of non-registered organisations;

7. Urges the Belarusian authorities to uphold international standards to which Belarus is bound with respect to freedom of assembly and to comply with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on human rights Defenders, in particular with its articles 1, 2, 5 and 12.2;

8.Reiterates its call on the Belarusian authorities to respect, in all circumstances, democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Belarus;

9.Calls for the renewal of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Belarus; calls on the Belarusian government to recognise the mandate and cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur; calls on the EEAS to better coordinate EU’s policy towards Belarus with the UN Special Rapporteur;

10. Urges the authorities to stop the harassment of independent media;

11. Calls on Belarusian authorities to resume the work without any delay on a comprehensive electoral reform as part of the broader democratization process and in cooperation with international partners; stresses the need to introduce the relevant OSCE/ODIHR recommendations well in advance of the local elections due to be held in March 2018;

12. Urges the government to join a global moratorium on the execution of the death penalty as a first step towards its permanent abolition, including addressing contingent aspects of the death penalty as unfair trials, lack of transparency of the judiciary and penitential systems and the impossibility of a genuine public debate on the question;

13. Calls on the EEAS and the Commission to continue strengthening EU’s support for Belarusian civil society organisations and media, including those registered abroad;

14. Calls on the Commission to further support educational programs allowing for young Belarusians to study in the EU by speeding up the visa and scholarship applications;

15. Calls on the EEAS and the Council to conduct a thorough assessment of the EU-Belarus relations, evaluating the progress made by Belarus, if any, to ensure reforms protecting fundamental freedoms and human rights; believes that clear benchmarks should be set up by the EU that should apply consistent human rights conditionality in order to ensure reforms that protect fundamental freedoms and human right;

16. Considers, in the light of the aforementioned facts and until those responsible for recent crackdown are not identified and brought to justice, that the decision of granting of an EU guarantee to the European Investment Bank (EIB) against losses under financing operations supporting investment projects outside the Union, as regards Belarus, should be suspended for the time being; calls on the Commission to assess whether an EU guarantee to the EIB would not be eventually used for the financing of the Ostrovets nuclear power plant in Belarus and is in compliance with the EU sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation;

17. Reiterates its commitment to work for the benefit of the people of Belarus, to support their pro-democratic aspirations and initiatives, and to contribute to a stable, democratic and prosperous future of Belarus; reiterates that respect for fundamental civil liberties, the rule of law and human rights will be crucial for shaping further relations between European union and Belarus;

18. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), the European External Action Service, the Council, the Commission and the Member States, OSCE/ODHIR, Council of Europe, as well as to the Belarusian authorities.