European People’s Party denounces human rights violations in Belarus

The European People’s Party (EPP) adopted a resolution denouncing human rights violations in Belarus at a meeting in Copenhagen on September 5.

In particular, the resolution criticizes mass arrests of peaceful demonstrators this past spring.

The resolution also criticizes a police raid on the Minsk office of the Belarusian Union of Electronic Industry Workers and a subsequent tax evasion case against the independent labor union’s Chairman Henadz Fyadynich and Deputy Chairman/Chief Accountant Ihar Komlik.

The EPP calls on the Belarusian authorities to immediately release and rehabilitate all the political prisoners, including Dzmitry Paliyenka, Mikhail Zhamchuzhny, Alyaksey Zhalnow and Ihar Komlik.

The EPP also calls on the Belarusian authorities to abolish Article 193.1 of the Criminal Code, which prohibits activities by unregistered organizations, and register Belarusian Christian Democracy and other political parties and NGOs.

The EPP urges the Belarusian government to overturn the death sentences that have already been imposed and move towards the complete abolition of the death penalty in the country.

In addition, the resolution calls on the Belarusian government to take all the necessary measures to ensure that the next election campaign in the country is free and fair.

The meeting of the EPP Political Assembly was attended by Belarusian opposition politicians, namely Yury Hubarevich, leader of the Movement for Freedom; Anatol Lyabedzka, chairman of the United Civic Party; and Vital Rymashewski, co-chairperson of Belarusian Christian Democracy.

At the opposition politicians’ suggestion, the EPP expressed concern in its resolution about the upcoming Belarusian-Russian military exercise as a threat to security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe.

“The adoption of the resolution shows that the largest party in the European Parliament continues to pay great attention to the situation in Belarus,” Mr. Hubarevich told BelaPAN. “Despite the improvement of Belarus-EU relations at the official level, issues concerning human rights violations and the lack of democratic freedoms remain on the agenda.”