Concerted position on international partners’ relations with Belarus

We, the representative of the Belarusian human rights organisations, note that despite certain positive tendencies over the past six months, there have been no systemic changes aimed at a comprehensive improvement of the human rights situation in Belarus. In this context, we regard further improvement of the human rights situation as a top priority for both Belarusian human rights defenders and international partners in shaping the strategy for relations with Belarus.

We call upon the international community:

1. To continue ensuring international scrutiny over the human rights situation in Belarus, including by renewing the mandate of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus;

2. The European Union to adopt, as EU Council conclusions, and make public a plan of minimal measures expected from the Belarusian authorities to ensure human rights progress in Belarus; and to develop with the Belarusian authorities a roadmap on the implementation of the aforementioned plan, which must include the full cooperation with mechanisms of the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and points listed in an open letter by the Belarusian human rights organisations of 9 January 2015:

  • Close the politically motivated criminal cases against journalist Aliaksandr Alesin, graffiti artists Maksim Piakarski, Vadzim Zharomski, Viachaslau Kasinerau, politician Ales Mikhalevich, as well as to review IN A PUBLIC TRIAL the criminal case of Mikhail Zhamchuzhny (founder of the human rights organization Platform Innovation); remove convictions in order to restore the civil and political rights of former political prisoners.
  • Remove a ban on entry into the country earlier imposed on Belarusian human rights activist Alena Tankachova, and to ensure safe conditions for the return of persons who were forced to leave the country due to political persecution.
  • Register the Human Rights Center “Viasna” and other non-profit organizations who choose to apply for registration.
  • Put an end to the persecution of journalists of the Belsat TV channel and Radio Racyja, as well as other journalists working for foreign media, and refrain from interfering with their professional activity in the country.
  • Introduce a moratorium on executions.
  • Repeal Article 193.1 of the Criminal Code, as well as a ban on the activity on behalf of unregistered organizations;
  • Launch systematic work with a view to bring the legislation of Belarus in the sphere of human rights in line with international standards.

3. To regard the Belarusian human rights community as an actor in the human rights dialogues between the EU and Belarus and between the US and Belarus and to include the Belarusian human rights community as an equal partner in these processes.

The Belarusian human rights organisations consider that the combination of constant monitoring, political pressure and an inclusive dialogue opening a space for the civil society is necessary to obtain advances for human rights in Belarus.

Office for the Rights of People with Disabilities

Legal Transformation Centre LAWTREND

Belarusian Documentation Centre

Committee for the Protection of the Repressed Salidarnasc

Initiative FORB partnership on expertise and law

Human Rights Center Viasna

Belarusian Association of Journalists

The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House

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