Belarus: MEPs strongly condemn the continuous human rights violations by state authorities

2020-12-02 | Belarus

MEPs and experts discussed the international efforts to investigate human rights abuses and seek justice for victims in Belarus, on Tuesday afternoon.

During the debate, Professor Dr. Wolfgang Benedek presented the content of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) new report under the Moscow Mechanism on alleged human rights violations in Belarus following the fraudulent presidential elections on 9 August.

Members expressed their deep concern over the findings, which clearly point to a continuous brutal crackdown by states authorities and security forces on peaceful protesters, arbitrary mass arrests of demonstrators, civil society representatives and independent journalists, documented torture of detainees and several other severe human rights abuses.

They also conveyed their genuine appreciation for the Belarusian citizens, including human rights defenders, who continue to work on collecting and documenting witness statements and evidence of the brutality on the ground.

“The European Parliament should support a Belarus justice hub, under its democracy support programmes. This hub, as it was already referred to in Parliament’s resolution, could include a centre to collect evidence, and an international panel of law experts to assist with investigations in international and domestic courts, including when it comes to the matter of applying universal jurisdiction in torture cases”, said Andrius Kubilius (EPP, LT), Chair of the delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly.

A new sanctions regime needed

MEPs also heard testimonies from Anaïs Marin, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, and Eugenia Andreyuk, human rights lawyer and expert on the International Committee on Investigation of Torture.

Most of the participants stressed the need for the EU to keep pushing for an international investigation of the crimes committed by the Belarusian state and to set up and support new mechanisms to help victims with criminal proceedings, in cooperation with international law experts.

They also called on the EU to start moving from words to action, including by finally putting in place a global human rights sanctions regime, in order to target individual perpetrators in Belarus with sanctions. All the regime officials responsible for grave crimes must be brought to justice, MEPs underlined.

Members also called on the Belarusian authorities to start cooperating with international representatives and organisations, such as the OSCE and the UN Special Rapporteur.

For all the interventions in full, you can watch the debate again here. (01.12.2020)

The debate was organised by the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Subcommittee on Human Rights in association with the delegations for relations with Belarus and the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly.

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