Belarus: MEPs call for immediate and unconditional release of political prisoners

MEPs strongly condemn the recent wave of mass arrests in Belarus and urge the illegitimate regime of Aleksander Lukashenko to cease its repression, reminding the regime of its international obligations. Parliament calls for the immediate, unconditional release and compensation of more than 1,400 political prisoners, as well as their families and other arbitrarily detained persons.

Parliament urges the EU and the international community not to recognise the results of the parliamentary and local “elections” in Belarus because of their lack of transparency, freedom and fairness, MEPs want the EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell and member states to impose stronger sanctions on the regime, and sanctions on the individuals responsible for serious human rights violations.

MEPs say regime victims need support through special instruments, allowing them to obtain EU visas and residence permits, and with cases of statelessness. They want to turn the examination of the human rights situation in Belarus by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights into a fully independent investigative mechanism, and to uphold the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Belarus, while strengthening accountability through extraterritorial and universal jurisdiction.

Speaking during Wednesday evening’s plenary debate in Strasbourg, ECR foreign affairs coordinator Anna Fotyga said:

“The oppressive actions of the Lukashenko regime against the Belarusian opposition evoke painful memories from our regional history. The recent crackdown on hundreds of family members of prominent political leaders and their closest associates bears a striking resemblance to the tactics employed by Bolshevik and Stalinist regimes.

“It is imperative that we stand in solidarity with all those affected by these repressive regime’s measures and demand the immediate release of all political prisoners. Belarus is our closest neighbour, and we cannot turn a blind eye to the injustices being perpetrated against its citizens.”

The text was adopted by 459 votes in favour, 14 against with 33 abstentions.

The full resolution will be available here.

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