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Motion for a resolution - B8-0204/2018Motion for a resolution


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

Rebecca Harms, Heidi Hautala, Bronis Ropė, Igor Šoltes, Barbara Lochbihler, Jordi Solé on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

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

Procedure : 2018/2661(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
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European Parliament resolution on Belarus


The European Parliament,


¾having regard to its previous resolutions and recommendations on Belarus with regard, in particular, to the one of 6 April 2017 and the one of 24 November 2016,

having regard to the parliamentary elections held on 11 September 2016, the presidential elections held on 11 October 2015 and the local elections on 18 February 2018,

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 Council conclusions on Belarus, especially those of 16 February 2016 lifting sanctions against 170 individuals and three Belarusian companies,

having regard to the conclusions of the Eastern Partnership Summit of 24th November 2017,

having regard to the decision of the Foreign Affairs Council to prolong for one year the restrictive measures against Belarus, including an arms embargo, ban on the export of goods for internal repression and an asset freeze and travel ban against four individuals listed in connection with the unresolved disappearance of two opposition politicians, one businessman and one journalist in 1999 and in 2000,

having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,


A. whereas the EU lifted most of its restrictive measures against Belarusian officials and legal entities in February 2016 with a view to starting a policy of engagement aimed at encouraging Belarus to improve its human rights, democracy and rule of law record,

B. whereas the EU and Belarus are currently negotiating tailor-made Partnership Priorities concerning main areas of interests such as economic development and modernisation, strengthening institutions and good governance, connectivity and people-to-people contacts,

C. whereas following the Presidential in 2015 and the parliamentary elections in 2016, Belarus held local elections on 18 February 2018,

D. whereas international observers were not invited to observe the municipal election while the Belarusian observer groups collected tangible evidence of massive nationwide efforts to inflate turnout totals and carousel voting, the latter being used for the first time in several years,


E. whereas on 25 October 2016 Belarus adopted its first National Human Rights Action Plan, which was approved by a resolution of the Council of Ministers and which defines the principle lines of action for implementing the country’s human rights commitments,

F. whereas on 25 March 2018 seven human rights defenders were arrested during an unauthorised demonstration in Minsk organised to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Belarus’ proclamation of independence and subsequently released; whereas several dozen protesters and four journalists of the Belsat TV channel were also detained as well as at least 120 people throughout the country,

G. whereas in the course of the last few months the Belarusian authorities opened criminal proceedings against independent bloggers, ordered  arrests of a number of journalists at their workplaces, introduced draft legislation which would provide legal basis to ban social media in Belarus,

H. whereas the overall human rights situation in the country has not shown so far any substantial improvement; whereas according to human rights organisations Belarus authorities still detain political prisoners and prisoners of conscience,

I. whereas, in particular, political prisoner Mikhail Zhamchuzhny was sentenced to six and a half years in prison in 2015 and now faces threats to his safety and well-being at Penal Colony 9 in Horki, while the authorities have not taken action to guarantee his security,

J. whereas Belarus is the only country in Europe still to carry out capital punishment,



1. Notes with disappointment the lack of implementation, despite earlier appeals, of the OSCE ODIHR recommendations following the Presidential elections in 2015 and the parliamentary elections in 2016 that were to be implemented before the 2018 municipal elections; calls on the Belarusian authorities to resume work without delay on a comprehensive electoral reform as part of the broader democratisation process and in cooperation with international partners;

2. Deplores the harassment of journalists and independent media in Belarus in the follow-up to the municipal elections and during the demonstrations of 25 March 2018, including the lawless removal from the polling station and brutal treatment of a journalist of Belsat TV, Andrus Kozel, and the blockage of the news portal Charter 97 among others and the detention of hundred protesters;

3. Calls for the removal of restrictions and easing of procedures of registration of political parties in Belarus; stresses that all political parties must be allowed unrestricted political activities, especially during election campaigns;

4. Reiterates its call on the Belarusian authorities to ensure, in all circumstances, respect for 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;

5. Calls on the Belarusian Government to engage in a constructive dialogue with the opposition and civil society organisations, as well as to cooperate fully with the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, carrying out long- overdue reforms to protect human rights and strengthen democracy;

6. Regrets that the current human rights dialogue is not yielding concrete results and urges the EU Special Representative for Human Rights to find ways and means to promote the full and effective protection of human rights in Belarus; calls for the release of all the political prisoners;

7. Calls for the renewal of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights 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 the EU’s policy towards Belarus with the UN Special Rapporteur; calls on the EU and its Member States to promote and support the extension of the UN Special Rapporteur’s mandate in order to continue to monitor the situation in the country;

8. Takes note of the appointment of a Senior Human Rights Advisor in Belarus by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); questions the usefulness of such an appointment at a time when the Belarusian authorities remain unwilling to take any systemic measure in support of the rule of law, and guarantee of fundamental human rights;

9. Calls on the Belarusian Government to fully cooperate with the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) and the UN Human Rights Committee under which Belarus is reviewed in 2018 and to implement their recommendations; calls on the EEAS to use the recommendations and their implementation to measure the human rights situation in Belarus in the coming months;

10. Urges Belarus, the only country in Europe still applying capital punishment to join a global moratorium on execution of the death penalty as a first step towards its permanent abolition; recalls that the death penalty constitutes inhumane and degrading treatment, has no proven deterrent effect and makes judicial errors irreversible;

11. Calls on the EEAS and on the Commission to continue support for civil society organisations in Belarus and abroad; stresses, in this context, the need to support all independent sources of information for Belarusian society, including media broadcasting in the Belarusian language, and from abroad;

12. Welcomes ongoing negotiations on EU Partnership Priorities with Belarus and hopes for the swift resolution of all the remaining issues which will allow Belarus access to wider scope of assistance; in this context notes the increased allocation of financial assistance by the European Commission for 2018-2020;

13. Calls, in this regard, on the EEAS and the Commission to find ways to inform and consult with Belarus civil society organisations about the ongoing negotiations;

14. Welcomes the decision of the Minsk authorities that since February 2018 allows short visa-free stays for foreign citizens of 80 countries in Belarus and looks forward to finalising the EU-Belarus Visa Facilitation Agreements;

15. Takes note of some transparency measures provided by the Belarusian authorities during the military exercise Zapad 2017, which clearly differed from the attitude of the Russian Federation in this regard; points out, however, that in contrast to the officially announced scope, scale and scenario of the exercise the military activities that simultaneously took place in Russia and Belarus together constituted a single strategic exercise with and offensive phase involving the full spectrum of Russian and Belarusian military; highlights that these activities did not contribute to the security in the region;

16. Calls on the Government of Belarus to suspend the construction of the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) that has been marred with numerous violations such as non-compliance with international standards and serious safety violations, including major incidents during the work; reiterates its concern at the selection of an unsustainable site for its construction; stresses that by pursuing this project, the Belarusian authorities are putting the health and safety of European citizens at serious risk. takes the view that the future of the EU-Belarus relations will depend greatly on the willingness of the Government of Belarus to address these concerns in full and without delay;

17. Calls for the implementation of the Bologna process according to the Roadmap agreed jointly by the EHEA and Belarus that will benefit young Belarusians and improve the exchange and people-to-people contact with the EU;

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,




Last updated: 17 April 2018
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