Motion for a resolution - B9-0163/2023Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on further repression against the people of Belarus, in particular the cases of Andrzej Poczobut and Ales Bialiatski

8.3.2023 - (2023/2573(RSP))

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission
pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Manu Pineda
on behalf of The Left Group

Procedure : 2023/2573(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on further repression against the people of Belarus, in particular the cases of Andrzej Poczobut and Ales Bialiatski


The European Parliament,

 having regard to the Charter of the United Nations,

 having regard to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus,

 having regard to the statements of the UN Secretary-General of 10 and 14 August 2020 and of 24 May 2021,

 having regard to the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus (A/77/195), published on 20 July 2022,

 having regard to the International Labour Organization Director-General’s statement of 21 April 2022 on the release of Belarusian trade union leaders,

 having regard to the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the situation in Belarus has continued to deteriorate since the presidential election of 9 August 2020; whereas UN institutions have reported a crackdown on demonstrators and opposition figures and have called for the rule of law to be guaranteed in the judicial system; whereas the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus has stated that the only way out of this situation is through inclusive political dialogue and accountability;

B. whereas the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has condemned cases of arbitrary detention and arrest, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and unfair and closed trials of persons perceived by the authorities as being critical of the government;

C. whereas individuals and organisations publicly voicing opposition to the war in Ukraine and to Belarusian collaboration in that war have been subsequently arrested, including the leadership of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions;

D. whereas opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaia was sentenced in absentia on 6 March 2023 to 15 years in prison; whereas the court also gave an 18-year sentence to the former Belarusian Minister of Culture Pavel Latushka;

E. whereas the Belarusian authorities have amended legislation to broaden the scope for organisations to be categorised as ‘extremist’; whereas this has been used by the Belarusian Supreme Court to liquidate the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions and its affiliate organisations; whereas 31 of its leaders and activists are currently under prosecution; whereas the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus has denounced the fact that these practices have been applied to other civil society organisations;

F. whereas journalist Andrzej Poczobut was arrested on 25 March 2021 and has been sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of encouraging actions aimed at harming national security and inciting ethnic hostility; whereas it is reported that there are 33 other media representatives currently imprisoned in Belarus;

G. whereas the founder of the Viasna Human Rights Centre and 2022 Nobel Peace Prize winner Ales Bialiatski was sentenced on 3 March 2023 to 10 years in prison on charges of tax evasion and financing actions and groups violating public order;

H. whereas it is estimated that there are currently 30 000 Russian troops stationed in Belarus with the Russian army engaged in an illegal invasion of Ukraine; whereas there are over 19 000 NATO troops, including US military, stationed in countries neighbouring Belarus (Poland, Latvia and Lithuania);

I. whereas since October 2020 the EU has imposed five packages of sanctions on Belarus which cover 195 individuals and 34 Belarusian entities, including public companies, as well as restrictions on trade, a prohibition on transactions with the Central Bank of Belarus and a SWIFT ban on five Belarusian banks; whereas the EU has barred Belarusian carriers from using the EU’s airports or airspace after the opposition journalists Raman Pratasevich and Sofia Sapega were arrested when the aircraft they were travelling in was forced to land in Minsk;

J. whereas asylum seekers from third countries attempting to reach the European Union through Belarus are systematically denied their fundamental rights and often returned to Belarus in violation of the principle of non-refoulement, as well as arbitrarily detained in both Poland and Latvia; whereas at least four people have died at the border between Poland and Belarus in the last month, including a woman left unassisted despite alerts to the Polish authorities;

1. Expresses its strongest solidarity with the people of Belarus, as well as its concern about the ongoing situation in that country; emphasises the need for a peaceful and democratic solution in full respect of the sovereignty of Belarus and the Belarusian people;

2. Condemns the criminalisation of Belarusian civil society and the prosecution of activists and journalists and calls for the release of all those arrested or sentenced in this context, including Andrzej Poczobut, Ales Bialiatski, Raman Pratasevic and Sofia Sapega; calls for the reversal of laws aimed at hampering civil society organisations and for the alignment of Belarus with international standards on the right to due process;

3. Stresses that all victims of human rights violations and abuses must be ensured access to justice and their right to an effective remedy;

4. Deplores the recent amendments to the Criminal Code, which broaden the list of crimes punishable by death sentence; urgently calls for the abolition of the death penalty in Belarus and throughout the world;

5. Urges the EU and its Member States to support the efforts of the UN Secretary-General and other international actors for peace negotiations to take place; highlights the fact that a military build-up at the EU’s eastern borders can contribute to further confrontation with potentially disastrous consequences for Belarus and Europe as a whole; is concerned at NATO’s enlargement to the east;

6. Highlights the risk of nuclear conflict in the region and calls for all parties to refrain from taking any steps in that direction; deplores Belarus’ decision to renounce its non-nuclear status and calls for effective measures for regional denuclearisation to be at the core of future security agreements; condemns the deployment of nuclear weapons by nuclear powers to third countries;

7. Expresses solidarity with those in Belarus protesting against the invasion of Ukraine; strongly urges the EU Member States to protect and grant asylum to Belarusians and Russians persecuted for speaking out against or protesting against the war, as well as to Belarusian and Russian deserters and conscientious objectors; insists that protection and asylum must also be extended to Ukrainian deserters and conscientious objectors;

8. Expresses its solidarity with the Belarusian Left Party ‘A Just World’ and its efforts to bring about economic and social reforms in Belarus as well as their opposition to the instrumentalisation of the sovereign state of Belarus in the war in Ukraine;

9. Expresses concern at the negative impact of the EU’s economic sanctions on all Belarusian people;

10. Expresses deep concern about the humanitarian situation of people from third countries seeking international protection at the borders between Belarus and the EU; calls on all actors, particularly the Polish and Latvian authorities, to fully respect international law, including the principle of non-refoulement, as well as relevant EU asylum legislation and the Schengen Borders Code;

11. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the parliaments and governments of the Member States and the Government of Belarus.


Last updated: 10 March 2023
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