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17.4.2018 - (2018/2661(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

Elena Valenciano, Victor Boştinaru, Soraya Post on behalf of the S&D Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0197/2018

Procedūra : 2018/2661(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Belarus


The European Parliament,

- having regard to its previous resolutions and recommendations on Belarus, in particular, the most recent of 6 April 2017,

- having regard to the Council conclusions of 15 February 2016 and the consecutive Decisions on the remaining EU restrictive measures and the arms embargo, recently prolonged until 28 February 2019,

- having regard to the Statement by the Spokesperson of the HR/VC on the local elections in Belarus of 20 February 2018,

- having regard to the Statement by the Spokesperson on the developments in the run up to and during Freedom Day in Belarus of 26 March 2018,

- having regard to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) final reports on the Presidential elections of 11 October 2015 and on the parliamentary elections of 11 September 2016, 

- having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to all human rights Conventions to which Belarus is a party, 

- having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the release of political prisoners and the lifting of the majority of EU restrictive measures in 2016 were positive developments that permitted the development of the EU-Belarus relations on a more positive agenda and to progress in a variety of fields, enhancing cooperation and communication among the two parties;

B. whereas the EU has repeatedly stated that the respect of fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, and human rights constitutes a clear precondition for the improvement and further advancement of relations between the European Union and Belarus; whereas, however, the situation in the country continues to remain of concern, as only very limited, timid steps for improvements can be observed in this respect;

C. whereas on 22 February 2018 the Council decided to prolong the existing restrictive measures against Belarus for one year;

D. whereas the long awaited constitutional and legislative reforms that would allow for the development of a true democracy are lagging behind; 

E. whereas the longstanding ODIHR and Venice Commission recommendations in the field of electoral legislation and processes remain unaddressed; whereas, according to Foreign Diplomat and Belarusian observers, the local elections that were held in February 2018, reconfirmed the shortcoming; whereas, despite some slight improvements concerning the candidate registration process and the campaign period, the local elections have been conducted in a restrictive media environment and problems have been reported concerning the setting up of pluralistic election commissions and the voting, counting, and tabulation processes, leading to doubts about the credibility of the turnout and results, including due to the exercise of multiple vote (so-called “carousel vote“);

F. whereas intimidation actions, including multiple detainments of independent and opposition activists, politicians and journalists continue; whereas, once again, prominent members of the opposition, and pro-democracy and human rights defenders have been prevented from participating in or arrested during an unauthorised demonstration organised in Minsk on 25 March 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of Belarus’ proclamation of independence, although most of them were subsequently released without charges;

G. whereas pretext reasons have been noted behind the refusal of the House of Representatives to further discuss with human rights defenders the amendments to the Mass Events Law, which were adopted in first reading in October 2017;

H. whereas media outlets and journalists continue to face considerable difficulties to exercise freely their activities in the country and freelance reporters cooperating with Belsat TV reportedly received fines in 2017 of around $25000; whereas worries have been voiced by the Belarusian media and civil society organisations about the draft amendments proposed by the Information Ministry to the law on media that would restrict the freedom of expression in the internet and social media; 

I. whereas, despite repeated calls by the EU to set up a moratorium, the death penalty continues to be practiced in the country; whereas the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus has noted that death sentences in Belarus can be considered highly disputable due to the lack of  an independent judiciary and of fair trials; 

K. whereas negotiations are currently under way between the EU and Belarus on new, tailor-made Partnership Priorities, concerning areas of mutual interests such as economic development and modernisation, strengthening institutions and good governance, connectivity and people-to-people contacts; whereas the Belarusian government has repeatedly stated that it wishes the normalisation of relations with the EU, the lifting of the remaining sanctions, and visa liberalisation; whereas, however, progress in this respect is necessarily subject to Belarus showing political will and commitment towards democratic values, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms;

1.Supports the EU’s critical engagement with Belarus, subject however to concrete steps towards democratisation and full respect of fundamental freedoms and human rights by the country’s authorities;


2.Calls for closer monitoring of the situation by the EEAS and the Commission and strict conditionality vis-à-vis the prospect of greater involvement of Belarus in Eastern Partnership policies, financial support and visa liberalisation; insists on clearer reform commitments by the Belarusian government and recommends setting up benchmarks and a timeline for the implementation of such commitments - a roadmap for closer EU-Belarus relations;


3.Notes with regret that no progress has been achieved in the field of electoral reform, in line with the OSCE/ODIHR and Venice Commission recommendations, and that the local elections reconfirmed the shortcomings in law and practice; urges the Belarusian authorities to bring forward a comprehensive reform of the election law and processes without further delay and to complete and apply it before the next Presidential elections; underlines the importance of international observation of the elections and declares its readiness to participate in it, upon the invitation of the Belarusian authorities;


4.Condemns arbitrary arrests and intimidation actions against politicians, opposition and human rights activists, which took place again on 25 March 2018, during a demonstration to mark the 100th anniversary of Belarus’ proclamation of independence; defends the right of people to peacefully protest in defence of their rights and express freely their opinion on political or social issues; stresses that any serious backtracking in terms of democracy and respect of fundamental freedoms, including new detentions of political prisoners should determine a clear reaction by the EU in its relations with Belarus; believes that a sort of automatism and certainty of consequences could be an effective dissuasive measure by itself;


5.Points out that the respect of the fundamental freedoms is a key element of a healthy democracy; calls on the Belarusian authorities to allow the civil society, political parties and media to operate freely, removing all legislative obstacles and easing administrative procedures of registration and operation; expresses concern about the amendments to the media law that aim at restricting the freedom of speech in internet;


6.Urges continued EU support to civil society organisations and human rights defenders and calls on the Commission to work closely together with and follow the recommendations of the EaP Civil Society Forum; urges the Belarusian Government to ensure civic participation in policy-making processes at local and national level, drawing inspiration from the guidelines adopted on 27 November 2017 by the Council of Europe; notes the growing interaction between Belarus and this organisation;


7.Calls on the EU and its Member States to promote and support the extension of the UN Special Rapporteur’s mandate and invites the EUSR for Human Rights to cooperate with the UN Special Rapporteur in order to improve the situation in the country;


8.Notes with regret that Belarusian courts have delivered new death penalties in 2018 and strongly reiterates the EU call on Belarus, as the only European state still applying the death punishment, to immediately join the global moratorium as first step towards the total abolition of this inhumane, cruel practice;


9.Remains committed to enhanced people-to-people contacts and increased mobility for ordinary citizens, students and professionals; welcomes the decision of Minsk to permit short travels to the country without a visa and the participation of Belarus in the EU’s flagship mobility programmes, Erasmus+ and MOST (phase II);


10.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.



Pēdējā atjaunošana: 2018. gada 17. aprīlis
Juridisks paziņojums - Privātuma politika