Belarus: European Youth Support for Human Rights, Pluralist Democracy and Transparent Elections in Belarus
Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission
Petition by European Youth in support of Human Rights, Pluralist Democracy and Transparent Elections for Belarus
We, youth of European countries, aged 13 – 30,
A. Extremely concerned by the reported serious violations of human rights before, during and after the recent presidential election in Belarus;
B. Noting that the Government of Belarus is a signatory to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and has obligations to its people in accord with that convention;
C. Aware that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has issued a statement in which she “expressed deep concern about the violence against and detention of opposition candidates and their supporters in the aftermath of Sunday’s (19th December 2010) presidential elections in the Republic of Belarus” and “called upon the Government of Belarus to ensure that human rights defenders, journalists and civil society organizations are free from any harassment”;
D. Understanding from the OSCE/ODIHR statement on the gross irregularities of the vote count that the election result in Belarus lacks democratic legitimacy;
E. Taking into account that human rights, rule of international law and democracy are universal values the observance of which is essential for a government to be recognised as a fully participating member of the European family of nations;
F. Approving of the role of International Organisations, including the OSCE, which work to develop human rights and democracy, and contribute to institution building in Belarus.
G. Recognising the view of the Council of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in Exile that severe sanctions against Mr Lukashenka and his associates will not make the situation for the Belarusian nation any worse than it is today:
Request that you make all European Union institutions, including all relevant Committees, sub-committees and Delegations aware of the demands of the undersigned that:
1. The results of the Belarus Presidential election be not recognised by the European Union, and hence that Alexander Grigor’evich Lukashenko be not recognised by the European Union as the next legitimate President of Belarus.
2. The events that took place in Minsk on the 19th December 2010 be recognised as an act of unlawful power seizure requiring the appropriate international institutions to initiate judicial actions to hold those responsible to account in international law;
3. Diplomatic measures be enacted, which follow from 1) & 2), by individual states and the EU, not to accept the diplomatic credentials of anyone appointed by Mr Lukashenko;
4. All necessary measures be adopted to bring about new free and fair elections in Belarus which enable the Belarus people to determine unambiguously a President of Belarus whose legitimacy derives from internationally accepted application of civil, political, and human rights;
5. Demands for the release of political prisoners be maintained, supported by a variety of strict sanctions, until all individuals are released who were imprisoned after taking part peacefully in political demonstrations in connection with the 2010 Belarus presidential election;
6. Support be given to the intention of the Council of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in Exile to begin criminal proceedings against Alexander Lukashenko and his associates, on the basis of unlawful violent actions against those who participated in the peaceful acts of protest against reported falsification of the election and its alleged results, and for other criminal acts that have been perpetrated by them upon citizens of Belarus during their many years of rule;
7. An independent international investigation be established into the December 19 acts of vandalism against Government property in central Minsk;
8. Pressure be brought to bear upon the Government of Belarus to ensure that human rights defenders, journalists and civil society organizations are free from any harassment
9. Solidarity be shown with those who suffered from beating, arrests, and other repressive acts, and with their families, and assistance be offered to them;
10. Additional financial support be provided, with simplified application and reporting procedures, for
a) radio and TV broadcasts to Belarus from the EU,
b) actions in Belarus aimed at strengthening civil society and pro-democracy NGOs, including youth actions;
c) enhancing cooperation of Belarusian NGOs, informal and formal groups and organizations with corresponding ones in the EU and Eastern Partnership countries.
11. The strongest possible pressure be brought to bear upon the Government of Belarus to permit the reopening of the OSCE Office in Minsk and to ensure its projects portfolio be maintained, subject to the office reopening.
12. European Governments and the EU refrain from using the term “President Lukashenko” or “Ruler of the Belarusian State”, and instead use only his name “Alexander Lukashenko”.