Statement of the Ukrainian National Platform of the EaP CSF on the situation in Belarus
The Ukrainian National Platform expresses its indignation at the actions of the Belarusian authorities against the brutal suppression of protests using disproportionate force and special means and calls for an end to the violation of civil rights and freedoms on the territory of Belarus.
For the third day in a row, mass protests continue, provoked by the falsification of the presidential election in Belarus against the background of mass violations of political and civil rights and human freedoms.
In the absence of internationally recognized election observation by the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the EU, the Belarusian authorities have committed unprecedented abuses and manipulations during all stages of the election campaign, as evidenced by monitoring by Belarusian human rights organizations.
The last straw that filled the cup of the patience of the Belarusian civil society was an attempt to openly falsify the results of the vote in favour of the incumbent President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. On election day itself took place amid preparations by the authorities to suppress disobedience: the collection of special equipment by law enforcement agencies in the cities, the redeployment of military units, large-scale restrictions on communication and access to objective information.
On August 9, after the end of the voting, mass peaceful protests by Belarusian citizens began, who expressed dissatisfaction with the open abuse of Belarusians during the cynical distortion of the results of the government’s expression of will. In more than 30 cities in Belarus, citizens have loudly stated their disagreement with the election results.
Despite the peaceful nature of the protests, the demonstrators were unarmed and did not pose a threat to public safety, special police units aggressively and brutally dispersed the rallies, unmotivated and unlawfully detained the participants. The use of special means by law enforcement officers led to mass bodily injuries to citizens. The use of light and noise grenades, rubber bullets, and water cannons became a new reality in the authorities’ efforts to stop public protest activity.
During the three days of protests, the Belarusian authorities detained up to 5,000 protesters in violation of the relevant procedural norms. There is evidence of violence and torture against detainees.
Unfortunately, there are already confirmed facts of the death of protesters in clashes with special forces, hundreds of maimed from excessive use of force.
Authorities plan to crack down on protests and restrict rights and freedoms. Under the pretext of combating external threats to public and national security, intentions to impose a state of emergency are announced.
A Ukrainian society and the public sector cannot stay aside when a neighbouring state participating in the Eastern Partnership policy so despises the constitutionally enshrined human and civil rights and endangers their health and life.
The Ukrainian National Platform, which brings together more than 150 CSOs in Ukraine, expresses its support for Belarusian society in its quest to defend its right to freely choose its future.
We call on the Belarusian authorities, represented by President Alexander Lukashenko:
- Stop violations of the rights and freedoms of Belarusian citizens enshrined in the Constitution of Belarus, as well as the fundamental documents of the UN, OSCE in the field of human rights, ratified by Belarus
- Against the background of non-recognition of the results of the presidential election in Belarus by the international community to find a political compromise with representatives of the Belarusian opposition political forces on ways out of the current situation
- Abandon violent confrontation with Belarusian citizens, participants in rallies and protests, start looking for a compromise based on negotiations and a peaceful solution to the conflict
- Stop political and violent pressure on political opponents, release political prisoners and detainees during protests.
Government institutions of Ukraine:
- Work with EU members and international partners to develop a common approach to influencing the Belarusian authorities to stop human rights violations and minimize the number of potential victims and victims of harsh actions by the Belarusian law enforcement agencies.
- Use the existing diplomatic and political channels of communication with the leadership of the Republic of Belarus to find a domestic political compromise in the country
- Develop, together with EU and Eastern Partners, mechanisms to support Belarusian civil society that has been politically oppressed during the presidential election and further protests.
EU members and European institutions
- Take concrete measures using existing political levers to end the brutal suppression of mass protests in Belarus
- Initiate the establishment and arrival of an EU human rights monitoring mission in Belarus through political and diplomatic channels, prepare a comprehensive report on the state of human rights, which should form the basis for reviewing the level and content of EU-Belarus bilateral relations