European parliament adopted resolution on situation in Belarus

Today the European parliament has adopted a resolution on situation in Belarus. It is offered to suspend visa sanctions against some of Belarusian officials for half a year, though the last “parliamentary election” was recognized not free and undemocratic. The resolution was adopted with 597 votes in favour, 31 against and 22 abstentions.

The resolution expresses regret over the fact that the electoral campaign in Belarus, despite of great hopes and some improvements, was not democratic. The elected “parliament” has a “doubtful legitimacy”, European deputies believe.

The resolution has a call to the Belarusian government to change the electoral legislation, thus confirming their readiness to improve the electoral process. Besides, the European parliament urges the official Minsk to respect human rights and abolish capital punishment.

MEPs welcome the approach taken so far by the Belarusian authorities, despite enormous pressure, not to recognise the unilateral independence declared by South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Authors of the resolution call upon the European structures to continue the dialogue with Minsk, working up a “road map” for “step-by-step interaction, and to review restrictive measures. In particular, it is offered to suspend for 6 months sanctions against officials not responsible for violations of the democratic standards of the elections, in order to allow the regime to reverse the new law on media which hasn’t come in force yet.

Besides, the document offers to facilitate receiving of Schengen visas for Belarusians and decrease their costs, and to increase the support of the civil society, independent media, the European Humanities University.

As Radio Svaboda specified, the European parliament has also called upon the Belarusian regime to hold really democratic election in line with the international standards, and among other things, to give members of all parties a possibility to enter election commissions of all levels, and to cancel the early voting procedure, or at least guarantee separate counting of ballots in the early vote.

The resolution contains a call to the Belarusian regime to respect human rights and to reverse a number of Articles of the Criminal Code which are used for repressions; to abstain from persecution of opposition, and to eliminate obstacles for registration of non-governmental organisations.